Solihull Council's planning committee give the green light on Birmingham Business Park extension - The Solihull Observer

Solihull Council's planning committee give the green light on Birmingham Business Park extension

Solihull Editorial 20th Oct, 2016 Updated: 24th Oct, 2016   0

SOLIHULL Council’s planning committee has approved an extension to Birmingham Business Park – into Green Belt land and just over 100 metres from residential homes.

Councillors approved the proposals to build up to three business buildings on the fields opposite Blackfirs Lane, in Bickenhill by building on half a hectare of land designated as protected Green Belt.

Officers and developers argued the incursion into Green Belt was to allow for a 25m strip of land to be reserved on the east of the site for a future metro line – running between Birmingham city centre and the UK Central Hub around the NEC and Birmingham Airport.

They also argued the development would provide ‘significant’ economic benefits and around 2,000 jobs to Solihull.

But campaigners fear it could set a dangerous precedent of developing Green Belt.

While the final design of the development on the site is yet to be confirmed, local resident Alison Lease said she and other homeowners in Blackfirs Lane were concerned the structures to be built could be overbearing and oppressive and would result in noise and light pollution.

“Residents were assured the field opposite Blackfirs Lane would be a big buffer zone,” Ms Lease told the planning committee.

“Birmingham Business Park has plenty of acres of land for sale that could be developed.

“If a transport corridor is needed, then the size of the building’s footprint should be reduced, rather than taking it out the green belt which is few and far between.

“Solihull Council promises to, quote, ‘improve access to and quality of open and green spaces available, and develop community growing and agricultural projects, in which case the fields should be made into a nature park and allotments.”

Echoing the concerns of Ms Lease and residents, Coun Clive Hill of Bickenhill Parish Council and Bickenhill ward councillor Alison Rolf urged the planning committee to refuse the application, arguing it would set a ‘dangerous precedent’ for building on the Green Belt.

But James Carpenter, head of development and regulatory management at Solihull council, urged the planning committee to approve the application.

He said: “The strategic importance of the provision of the Metro route is that it is a significant piece of infrastructure for the economic success of not only Solihull but the wider region.

“That will not get delivered if we do not see this land reserved.

“The fundamental fact we want to see the Metro is weighed in the balance with the context of the loss of a very small section of the Green Belt.

“Do we want to see the economic growth of this area?”

The council’s planning committee approved the application six votes to three, giving the green light for developers to build on the field and expand into the Green Belt.

Detailed plans for the buildings will come before planning committee in the coming months.


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