Five thousand less homes on Sutton Coldfield green belt but chaos is still forecast
3rd November 2013
Sutton Coldfield Observer
CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 10,000 new homes on Sutton's green belt have been revised with the number of proposed properties slashed by half.
The sprawling 5,000-home development – which would also include two primary schools, one secondary school, health facilities and open space – is being earmarked for 232 hectares of land west of the A38 Sutton Coldfield Bypass, near Walmley and Falcon Lodge.
Sites at Hill Wood, east of Watford Gap and north of Mere Green, west of the M6 Toll, north of Falcon Lodge and Whitehouse Common, and east of the A38 had also been previously considered as part of the Birmingham Development Plan.
The plans – which will go out for a six-week public consultation period in the new year – also include a major industrial development, on a similar scale to the Jaguar Land Rover site, will also be built on green belt at nearby Peddimore.
Local councillors have slammed the revised proposals, saying it would bring "chaos" to the town.
Sutton Trinity councillor David Pears said: "Labour councillors are blighting Sutton Coldfield.
"It is not going to be traffic chaos in their areas and it won't put pressure on their schools and health centres. It's a nightmare.
"It's predictable. I could see the Labour council selling off the land at Peddimore for development.
"What they are proposing is 5,000 houses on a piece of land from Asda Walmart by Springfield Road to The Anvil and to Lindridge Road.
"I don't think the roads will take the increased volume of traffic. I'd be very sceptical about two primary schools, a secondary school and a health centre being built – that would put real pressure on what we have. The likelihood is there will be building on the green belt but it's down to us to protect the views of residents."
New Hall councillor David Barrie described the news as "extremely disappointing".
"First of all, thanks must go to Sutton's residents for their fantastic response in fighting these plans," he said.
"This is extremely disappointing news. Many residents have raised concerns about the pressure these plans will put on Sutton's infrastructure and in the run-up to the consultation we will be focusing on getting as much information to residents as possible.
"The fight does not end here!"
The proposals are part of the Birmingham Development Plan, which sets out a strategy for sustainable growth across the city for the next 18 years. It is thought 80,000 new homes will need to be provided by 2031 to cope with the city's growing population.
Sutton Vesey councillor Rob Pocock said: "I give credit to Birmingham City Council for cutting the proposed development in half and it's good that 90 per cent of all the house-building planned in Birmingham will now be on urban brownfield land and not in Sutton Coldfield. But the green belt is still not the right place to build.
"We need to be really worried about what they [land owners and developers] plan to do at the next consultation stage.
"This gang of 'land rapists' are likely to demand the original 10,000 be re-instated, or worse.
"The truth is, the real enemy we are up against is not Birmingham City Council, nor even the Government's national policy in favour of green space development – it is the predatory land speculators."
Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell has vowed to "vigorously oppose" the scheme.
"I will, alongside Sutton's councillors, continue to vigorously oppose these proposals," Mr Mitchell said.
"I maintain that there are other options to building on Sutton Coldfield's green belt and it is, therefore, essential that the City Council takes a more creative approach to regeneration in Birmingham."
Ian Ward, deputy leader of Birmingham City Council, said he understood the "reservations" expressed by those opposed to the plans but stressed that "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."
Pressure mounting on infrastructure providers as Draft Birmingham Development Plan released
Important rail link construction hits the buffers
Public sector housing contribution at fault for Birmingham’s housing shortage
Up to 19,000 new homes proposed near busy Lichfield to Birmingham rail route
Calls for Birmingham City Council to review housing levels as green belt targeted for new homes
Council targets green belt homes while thousands of houses stand empty across Birmingham
Sutton Coldfield Rural Campaign challenges Council’s housing projections
A38 commuter route puts Birmingham Local Plan in reverse