25th Jan, 2021

Solihull community group come together to protect greenbelt

Felix Nobes 16th Dec, 2017

A SOLIHULL community group has come together to protest against the possible loss of greenbelt land and raise money for dementia services.

More than 100 walkers joined South Solihull Community Group on a charity walk that helped raise awareness about land that could be lost if Site 13 of the draft Local Plan is confirmed.

The group took walkers along a route through Shirley to view open space that could be lost if the proposed 2,500 houses are built.

The group raised over £300 for a dementia care unit that is also planned for part of the site.

It demonstrates there is no outright opposition to building on the green belt site if it benefits the community, say protesters.

The plans, if given the council go-head, include potentially 600 homes on a stretch from Miller & Carter steakhouse on Tanworth Lane, almost all the way to Bills Lane.

Sylvia Gardiner of South Solihull Community Group says: “We all care deeply about the fields we walk across regularly, so we thought it was a good idea to do it together and make something good come out of the stress that’s been caused by the local plan.

“We originally wanted to raise money for the dementia home they’re building by Sans Souci (training and conference centre), to show that we aren’t against building altogether.

“We just can’t have too much of it in the wrong place.

“It’s shocking how much greenbelt we’d be losing in Shirley if these plans go ahead.

“We’ve already lost some of Shirley Park to Parkgate.

“There has to be some social responsibility shown for the residents who will find themselves with no open space to enjoy.

“We’re praying that the council come to their senses and realise how unfair they’re being on the residents of Shirley.”

The group has collected over 1000 signatures that it is delivering to Solihull council, asking for the whole of Site 13 to be taken out of the draft Local Plan.

It will be holding further walks in the future.

A council spokesperson said: “The responses to the draft Local Plan consultation recently undertaken will help shape the next version of the plan which is expected to be published in summer/autumn 2018.

“Consultation responses made at that stage will be considered through an independent examination before the plan is adopted.”

The draft Local Plan for development over the next two decades is partly a response to a local and national shortage of housing, although campaigners against building on the Greenbelt advocate a brownfield first policy.

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