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Campaign launched against green belt homes plan near Baggeridge Country Park

By Jamie Brassington | Dudley | Property | Published:

A campaign has been launched to stop developers building more than 600 homes on green belt land in the Black Country.

A map showing the sites of the potential developments

Developers are lining up land next to The Straits estate and Baggeridge Country Park, in Sedgley and Lower Gornal, for the development of 628 homes.

Three plots of land have been earmarked for the homes - one north west of the Straits between Sandyfields Road and Baggeridge Country Park where 405 properties are planned, and two south west of The Straits either side of High Arcal Road where 223 homes are planned.

A neighbouring plot between High Arcal Road and Himley Road has also been suggested as being suitable for a further 400 homes by a different developer.

A separate proposal has suggested building around 400 homes on neighbouring land

The proposals are among a raft of potential developments suggested to South Staffordshire Council as part of its Local Plan, which aims to build 8,845 new homes by 2037.

The Local Plan decides the policies which will be used to decide planning applications over the coming years - including how much development is needed and where and how green belt will be protected or used - and is out for consultation until December.

South Staffordshire Council's current preferred option is for "focusing growth on strategic sites that will deliver new or improved infrastructure, and in areas near to the source of unmet housing needs in the Black Country."

A South Staffordshire Council map showing its current preferred plan for development

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How South Staffordshire Council wants to share its housing developments

Under this option around 60 per cent of development would be in villages such as Penkridge and Codsall, while around 40 per cent would be in extensions to neighbouring urban areas such as the land to the west of Dudley.

The council has also released plans detailing how it intends to ensure the local infrastructure can cope, including by building new schools in the Codsall/Bilbrook area, improving public transport links and building new roads and car parks.

Petition

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A petition against the potential developments near The Straits has gained more than 200 signatures, with the deadline for objections to South Staffordshire District Council four weeks away.

All of the proposed sites are part of the green belt, as is 80 per cent of the entire South Staffordshire District.

Campaigners say people who live in the Dudley borough, which directly borders the sites and The Straits is a part of, have not been consulted as they live in a separate district.

A map showing potential development sites near Himley, with the border with the Dudley borough shown on the edge of the sites

Nearby residents are also concerned about the impact on the local infrastructure and the effect any building work will have on wildlife at nearby Himley Hall and Baggeridge Country Park.

Jayne Marsh, aged 58, from Lower Gornal, said: “This is green belt land, it has been green belt for 50 years. There is a huge amount of wildlife.

“You have Himley Hall, you have Baggeridge Park, there are plans to build right up to the footpaths of the park. It will devastate those two tourism areas.”

Jayne Marsh, left and Shelley Hallam, standing on the site next to The Straits which is earmarked for new homes

Shelley Hallam, 42, added: “The green belt land is very much loved and used by the community.

“The roads are already struggling to cope with demand."

Marco Longhi, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Dudley North, said: "What is the motivation for them building houses here? It has happened without the local community being consulted about this."

The proposed sites are around two miles away from the Seven Cornfields, where there are proposals for building 1,300 homes on green land between Wolverhampton and Sedgley.

Those plans, which form part of the Black Country Plan to address the area's housing shortage, have been met with fierce opposition from nearby residents.

To sign the petition against the plans near The Straits, visit www.marcolonghi.org.uk/greenbelt.

The Local Plan housing and infrastructure consultation runs until 5pm on December 12. To send in objections, email localplanreview@sstaffs.gov.uk or write to Strategic Planning Team, South Staffordshire Council, Wolverhampton Road, Codsall, WV8 1PX.

Jamie Brassington

By Jamie Brassington
Senior Multi-Media Journalist - @JamieB_Star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star. Contact me at jamie.brassington@expressandstar.co.uk.

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