Council plan for 5,000 homes on green belt land near Sutton Coldfield
Green belt area C. West of Sutton Coldfield Bypass (A38), near Walmley
11th October 2013
The huge development could include two primary and one secondary school, a health centre, shops and open space.
A sprawling new housing estate of up to 5,000 homes could be built on Birmingham green belt under the council’s new Development Plan.
The huge scheme is planned for land east of Walmley, Sutton Coldfield, and also includes proposals for two primary and one secondary school, a health centre, shops and open space.
If approved, a major industrial development, on a similar scale to the Jaguar Land Rover factory, will also be built on green belt at nearby Peddimore.
Building on green belt is the most controversial part of the city-wide Development Plan for the next two decades, which outlines brownfield sites scattered throughout Birmingham for about 45,000 homes and some industry.
But planners have ruled out building on three further green belt sites to the north of Sutton Coldfield after carrying out a review of the quality of land and housing market.
Even though the proposed 5,000 homes is half that suggested in a first draft of the plan last year, there is still widespread resistance from local residents and politicians.
Chairwoman of the Sutton Coldfield District Committee Coun Anne Underwood (Cons, Four Oaks) said: “There should be no building on the green belt. Once it is built on you can never get it back.”
She added that more work needs to be done with neighbouring boroughs to find land outside the city boundary.
With sites earmarked for approximately 51,000 homes, Birmingham is still way short of its expected demand for 80,000 homes by 2031.
This means that when the Development Plan goes to an inspector for final approval next year, the council could face challenges from both sides, with Sutton Coldfield residents against any green belt encroachment and developers pushing for more land to be released.
In the late 1990s, Birmingham City Council plans to build a factory on farmland at Peddimore were overturned at a public inquiry.
But current council deputy leader Ian Ward (Lab, Shard End) said that they had consulted widely over the new proposals over the last year, with more than 1,600 replies received.
“I understand the reservations expressed by many people regarding the removal of land from the green belt for development,’’ he said.
“However, doing nothing is simply not an option. This is a clear problem that has to be addressed and there are limits to what we can do in the heart of the city.”
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