Have campaigners lost the fight to save Sutton Coldfield’s green belt?
7th June 2014
Sutton Coldfield Rural has discovered that Birmingham City Council are tendering for a masterplanner to devise a scheme to support its desire to build an urban extension on the Sutton Coldfield green belt to the west of the A38 at Walmley.
The masterplanner will be charged with providing key supporting documents to fully optimise the effectiveness of the land use and infrastructure, ensuring the ‘highest standards of sustainability and design’ are executed.
The overall scheme is expected to deliver up to 6,000 houses, two new primary schools, secondary school, health centre set in a green corridor leading to the New Hall Valley Country Park.
So is the fight over to save the Sutton Coldfield green belt? No!
Birmingham City Council’s Development Plan 2013 says by law, it must deliver enough land to accommodate its objectively assessed housing need [NPPF Para 47] of 84,000 houses, although it only has capacity for 51,500, between 2011 and 2031.
Due to a reported shortfall in available land, the city Council has opted for an urban extension on green belt land at Langley (Area C) and Peddimore (Area D) in Sutton Coldfield, as well as seeking to construct 33,000 homes within neighbouring councils’ boundaries.
From the Council’s point of view, devising a masterplan is a sensible approach. During the recent consultation, developers were lobbying BCC en mass for further green belt to be released to enable up to 10,000 houses. The same pack of developers’ who have land interests on the other green belt sites at Four Oaks and Trinity, will have or will be working away on their own masterplans to get the Council’s strategy thrown out on poor sustainability grounds.
So it is business as usual as far as residents and campaigners are concerned and we will continue to press for zero development on the green belt.
The same arguments raised at the start of the year are still relevant.
Example: Birmingham City Council has failed to show how their full objectively assessed housing needs will be met. We know the draft Local Plan is unsound because it fails to propose an effective strategy to deal with the cross-boundary development needs which it has identified.
This, along with the other arguments will be presented to the planning inspector during the examination by Sutton Coldfield Rural.
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