Call to arms in Sutton Coldfield - new battle to stop plans for 6,000 green belt homes
24th November 2013
Sutton Coldfield Observer
Residents called to attend next New Hall ward councillors' meeting at St John's Church in Walmley, Sutton Coldfield, over Birmingham City Council's plans to build 6,000 on green belt.
RESIDENTS fighting to protect Sutton's green belt from 6,000 new homes are urging people to vote with their feet by attending a public meeting next week.
Project Fields, a campaign set up by residents in New Hall and the wider Sutton area to protect green belt land, is hoping people power will help stop Birmingham City Council's "ruthless" plans to develop the site west of the A38 Sutton Coldfield bypass near Walmley and Falcon Lodge.
The campaigners are now working to ensure other residents are aware of the proposal, its impact, the alternatives to building on the green belt and how people can help fight the plans.
Their message is simple.
"If you want to make sure the green belt is protected, you must not miss the opportunity to involve yourself," said Suzanne Webb, spokesperson for Project Fields. "Before any building is agreed and rubber stamped there is a process to be followed which involves the community.
"Public consultation will begin in January. During this time people will have the opportunity to examine and respond to the proposal. You have the right to challenge the soundness of the plan.
"Before that, however, the first step is to get yourself to public meetings to understand more about the proposal, to have an overview of the area affected and understand the process to follow, your role and understand how to object.
"Where public campaigns have been successful is where the community has rallied, the process and plans scrutinised, the soundness of the plan reviewed and a significant number of individual objections raised."
The proposals – which will go before full council on December 3, with an eight-week public consultation period starting on January 6 – are part of the Birmingham Development Plan which details how 81,500 new homes will need to be provided by 2031 to cope with the city's growing population.
"The local community is devastated by the proposal which is seen to be senselessly and needlessly destroying parts of the green belt," Suzanne added.
" Those retired had intended to enjoy the benefit of both an urban and semi-rural environment. Families use the open space for their children to play; dog walkers and families enjoy using the community asset which is miles of public footpaths and rights of way.
"We know there is a housing shortage which needs to be satisfied and that some building on the green belt may be inevitable. But not 6,000 homes.
The first public meeting takes place at St John's Church in Walmley on Friday, November 29. The start time is now 7.30pm.
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