‘Vindictive’ Labour back Sutton Coldfield green belt estate plan
25th October 2013
Rebuke came from Sutton Coldfield Tory councillor Anne Underwood the next stage of a 20-year plan for the city’s housing is approved.
Birmingham Labour leadership was accused of being “vindictive” after councillors backed a plan to build up to 6,000 homes on green belt land.
The rebuke came from Sutton Coldfield Tory Coun Anne Underwood as the authority’s cabinet approved the next stage of a 20-year plan for the city’s housing and economic growth.
Her anger was aroused by fiercely controversial plans to use green belt land in Sutton for homes and a major industrial development.
She said: “They make it all seem very reasonable and say it’s the Government forcing us to do it.
“But Labour always takes the easy and vindictive way to meet housing need, by building on Sutton Coldfield’s green belt.”
Her comments harked back to the 1990s. Then, the Labour council earmarked green belt land at Bassetts Pole for housing and an attempt to build an electronics plant at Peddimore was thwarted by legal action.
Coun Underwood added: “In Sutton Coldfield our GP practices are full, schools are over-subscribed and our roads are congested from early morning until evening. It won’t take more housing. Once the green belt is built on it can never be recovered.”
But she was branded a ‘nimby’ by Labour councillors.
Deputy council leader Coun Ian Ward (Shard End) said the council needed to find space for 80,000 extra homes by 2031 and there was room for just 45,000 within the urban area.
With up to 6,000 planned for the green belt, the council hopes its neighbours in the Black Country, Worcestershire and Staffordshire might find space for the rest.
Coun Ward told Coun Underwood: “What we are talking about is a modest release of the green belt, and even then we are still 30,000 short.
“You are putting forward a nimby argument, it is not going to work.“
The plan is out for consultation early next year before being put to a Government inspector for approval.
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