Final chance to have your say over green belt housing plans

Campaigners are urging residents to make their objections known against green belt plans - with the deadline for submissions less than a week away.

One of the placards which have been placed around The Straits estate
One of the placards which have been placed around The Straits estate

More than one thousand people have signed a petition against proposals to build 628 homes on land dubbed North Himley Green Belt, located in Sedgley and Lower Gornal.

However residents have only until Thursday before South Staffordshire District Council will stop accepting written objections and the authority's consultation into the housing and infrastructure part of its Local Plan Review will end.

The local authority will review the responses before making a decision on whether the land can be built on.

A map showing the sites of some of South Staffordshire Council's potential developments

Landowners have put forward three plots of land, near The Straits estate and Baggeridge Country Park, for development after being invited to do so by the council, which is aiming to address a shortage of 8,845 homes in South Staffordshire by 2037.

But there are fears local wildlife habitats will be impacted if the new homes are built. There also concerns about whether local infrastructure would cope from more residents in the area.

The proposals are to build 405 properties on one piece of land north west of the Straits between Sandyfields Road and Baggeridge Country Park.

There are further plans to build 223 homes south west of The Straits on either side of High Arcal Road.

Signs have been put up along Sandyfields Road

Campaigner Jayne Marsh, who has been fundamental in raising awareness of the proposals, said: "We are urging everybody to write to the council and get their views heard.

"We have had a lot of support from the local community and the council."

About 1,450 people have signed an online petition against the plans while 1,000 people have signed a written petition - bringing the total to about 2,450.

However, these two petitions would be counted as just two objections by South Staffs, rather than each individual signature, which is why campaigners are urging people to send in written objections.

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

It is likely to be either July or August before South Staffs confirms if the North Himley Green Belt proposals will be brought forward to public consultation.

About 50 placards - featuring a badger and the slogan 'get your mitt's off our green bits' - have been installed around The Straits neighbourhood, alerting people to the proposals.

The campaign has been supported by politicians standing in the Dudley North parliamentary seat.

While they can't directly intervene, the politicians have helped to raise the issue.

Conservative candidate Marco Longhi has given his support already.

Labour candidate Melanie Dudley said: "I have been impressed by the efforts of local people in Dudley to halt this green belt development. I will fight alongside them locally."

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