DOZENS of angry campaigners have joined forces to discuss their opposition to the proposed Motorway Service Area (MSA) in Catherine de Barnes.
The £65 million project – which if given planning permission would create 300 permanent jobs when open and additional jobs during construction – would be located on a parcel of land between the M42 and Solihull Road (pictured), but will only be accessible from the M42 following the provision of a new £12 million junction.
Solihull Road itself would have to be raised to travel over the MSA access road.
If approved the MSA would take approximately 12 months to complete the construction and could be open for mid-2017.
Previous proposals along the Solihull stretch of the M42 have been thrown out by the Secretary of State, although he agreed there was a need for one.
The January 7 meeting at Catherine de Barnes Village Hall saw more than 60 villagers from Catherine de Barnes, Hampton and Barston – along with Meriden MP Caroline Spelman, Solihull Council leader Bob Sleigh and Bickenhil councillor Alison Rolf – discuss their concerns about the proposal.
Key objections to the scheme include its eating up of Greenbelt land and the erosion of the Meriden Gap, the proximity of the extended airport runway, damage to the local wildlife and flora and the damaging effect it will have on local residents.
Speaking after the meeting Mrs Spelman said: “There are many new factors to consider since the initial plan was approved, including the HS2 route, the runway extension, the nearby casino and the busy hard shoulder brought into use with the active traffic management of the M42.
“I feel strongly that the MSA would be in the wrong place here and that it is altogether the wrong time with so much development due in the triangle around Birmingham International. Why on earth would you risk building a fuel supply point at the foot of a runway?”
The developer’s Public Consultation closed on Monday, by campaigners are urging anyone opposed to the scheme to make their feelings known when a planning application is submitted to Solihull Council in the coming months.
Coun Alison Rolf added: “The plans are to build on Greenbelt land which cannot be supported.
“Please, don’t think that other people will write, so you don’t have to.
“This development is at the wrong time with everything else that is happening in this area at the moment, and in the wrong place.”