RESIDENTS have slammed plans to build on the historic ‘memory-filled’ woodland area of the former Solihull lido.
In response, developers have dismissed them with outspoken language, accusing them of being “nimbies”.
More than 300 residents have signed an online petition against the proposals for six two-storey family houses at the end of Park Avenue.
And Jean Walters, a local planning expert with the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), has also condemned the plans.
The campaign group says it expects a planning application to be presented to Solihull council in the coming weeks.
Solihull developers Elegant Homes devised the plan despite the now cherished woodland area being next to a popular place for walking and recreation near Brueton Park.
Lead campaigner who lives in the area, Clare Currie, said: “The local residents are objecting to any development here for a number of reasons.
“It’s now a connected green space immediately adjacent to greenbelt land and a conservation area – full of trees, birds and badgers.
“It absolutely shouldn’t be used for a housing development, but should be left as a small pocket of green.
“The development will also mean further congestion on an already congested road, particularly during peak times as it is situated directly next to St Martin’s School.
“And it would be removing part of Solihull’s history, which we should not be bricking over.
“Please sign the petition and stop this green space grabbing in Solihull.”
Malvern Park Lido was used as an open-air swimming pool from at least 1944.
The pool was closed by the council in 1982, after increasing financial losses and structural problems requiring expensive repairs.
Ms Walters, a retired chartered town planner, said: “Solihull should set an example and make this a local wildlife site.
“It’s an important green lung which sets the leafy character of Solihull, which goes right into the town centre.
“It represents the character and setting of Solihull and that should be retained and reserved.”
She called on Solihull council to open up the ‘ecological wildlife area’ to the public and schools nearby, so it would become part of Brueton Park.
An Elegant Homes spokesperson said: “The site comprises self-seeded trees growing out of a former swimming pool and surrounded by high level metal fencing; unsurprisingly, an ecological survey found little ecological value.
“It will generate limited traffic as confirmed by a traffic survey.
“This is a brownfield site in a highly sustainable location and we must build on these sites if we are to provide much needed new housing for local people.
“This is classic nimbyism. It’s just not good enough for those of us with houses to deny the same opportunity to others.”
Some residents have echoed Ms Currie’s frustrations with the Solihull council planning department, which they accuse of permitting developments despite public opposition.
They say they have other concerns about the development, including the’ unaffordable’ nature of the proposed properties and increased danger to pedestrians and school children from more traffic.
To sign the petition go to: www.gopetition.com/petitions/stop-the-redevelopment-of-solihull-lido.html#.W-1_Q017-XQ.twitter