A green oasis of tranquility – but for how much longer?

An oasis of tranquility at the heart of the urban sprawl – but many are wondering, for how much longer?

The area of green belt known as the Seven Cornfields, which acts as a green buffer separating Dudley from Wolverhampton
The area of green belt known as the Seven Cornfields, which acts as a green buffer separating Dudley from Wolverhampton

This aerial photograph, taken by Express & Star photographer Tim Thursfield, shows the area of green belt known as the Seven Cornfields, which acts as a green buffer separating Dudley from Wolverhampton.

But this lush green area of land, between Sedgley and Penn, is now under threat by proposals from developer Barratt, which wants to build 600 homes on the site.

The plan has caused fierce opposition among people living in the area, with more than 7,000 signing a petition against the scheme.

Dudley North MP Marco Longhi and Wolverhampton South West MP Stuart Anderson have both pledged to fight the proposals.

Councillor Paul Birch, who represents Blakenhall ward on Wolverhampton Council, said he would resign if the scheme got the go-ahead.

The photograph, taken from above Northway, in Sedgley, looks across the fields towards Wolverhampton.

Hedgerow

In the bottom-right corner is the dense woodland known as Ashen Coppice, while Colton Hills School in Penn can be seen top centre.

The proposed development site would include more than three times as many homes as the Baggeridge Village development in nearby Gospel End. It would follow the line of the hedgerow from the school, taking in the heart-shaped field in the centre of the picture.

The site would then follow the line past the Beacon Centre for the Blind on the right.

The developer said it would be possible to retain the area of woodland in front of the school, known as Park Coppice, while also creating a new woodland buffer linking up with Ashen Coppice, to improve biodiversity.

Retired teacher Tony North, who has lived in Northway for 30 years, said the site was totally unsuitable for such a development.

“We will continue our fight to insist that not a brick is laid on that site,” he said. “It’s a very diverse ecosystem which allows both plants and animals to move along it.

“The impact it will have on the environment will be enormous.”

Barratt said that, planned in an appropriate and sustainable way, the housing scheme could be landscape-led, considering the environment, ecology and biodiversity of the area.

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