A HALL GREEN councillor has expressed her concerns for the area’s infrastructure after it was confirmed last week that the borough’s popular greyhound racing stadium is to make way for 210 new homes.
Councillor Kerry Jenkins, who is also a member of the Birmingham City Council Planning Committee, said she was disappointed with the decision to bulldoze the stadium and added it will have a significant impact on schools and medical services.
The decision to bulldoze Hall Green Greyhound Stadium came just four weeks after an initial planning committee board voted 9-2 in favour of retaining the racing facility, which employs 200 people.
Following an appeal, a fresh committee voted 7-1 in favour of demolishing the stadium – ending 90 years of Hall Green heritage.
Speaking to The Observer, Coun Jenkins said she was very much in favour of campaigning to keep the stadium.
She said: “I am disappointed and I made it clear that I was in support of keeping the stadium as I know how important the stadium is to local people.
“We’re accepting as a city that we need more housing, our waiting list is enormous, however my concern is that there is a very limited number of affordable houses listed on this planning application – it’s only 15 per cent which translates to just 30 houses.”
The local council’s recommended guideline to affordable housing is that 30 per cent of homes in a proposed planning application should be affordable – meaning the planned construction will contain half of the Council’s recommendation.
There is also a significant lack of open space provided in the proposed plan – just a third of the open space recommended by the Council will be provided.
Coun Jenkins added: “There’s no doubt the extra houses will add strain to our local services, having anything between an extra 300 to 600 residents living in the area isn’t ideal.
“Our schools are outstanding as are our medical and dental surgeries, however they’re already under enormous strain and this is only going to add to the problem.
“Youngsters already struggle to get into their first choice school and we often see people living in Hall Green have to travel into Solihull for education.”
Despite her support for keeping the stadium standing, Coun Jenkins said she was inundated with emails from animal welfare supporters – and she had sympathy with their arguments.
She said: “Despite the dozens of emails I received from animal welfare supporters, when it comes to planning arguments the points raised by PETA cannot be considered.
“There are always winners and losers in planning application process which is a shame.
“However as soon as the stadium was sold there was always doubts regarding the future.
“One concern was that if the application was refused it would’ve cost the taxpayer a lot of money – as a city with financial restrictions this wouldn’t have been ideal.
“I hope measures are made to ensure the jobs that will be lost at Hall Green Stadium can be supplemented at Perry Barr.”