Solihull opposition decry leader's 'diversion' greenbelt pledge - The Solihull Observer

Solihull opposition decry leader's 'diversion' greenbelt pledge

Solihull Editorial 28th Sep, 2020 Updated: 28th Sep, 2020   0

THE GREEN opposition group in Solihull has denounced a ‘greenbelt pledge’ by local Conservatives as a ‘diversion’ from decisions on the borough’s looming Local Plan.

Last week (September 24), West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and Solihull Council leader Coun Ian Courts issued a ‘six point pledge’ over greenbelt protection – promising to deliver the borough’s Local Plan, use ‘brownfield first’ for development, build at least 700 homes in Solihull town centre, build 5000 homes around the HS2 station UK Central at Bickenhill, and create more ‘green environment buffers’ around new developments.

Opposition councillors in Solihull say many of the points from Mr Street and Coun Courts are either legally required or already in long-term council plans.

But the region’s Conservative leaders say they want to meet housing needs while allowing residents to enjoy the greenbelt.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “At a regional level we are working to deliver promote a ‘brownfield first’ approach to housing – and have brought in £434million to clean up derelict sites for homes, easing pressure on greenbelt sites in places like Solihull. Without this regional approach that I am leading, with the backing of Solihull Council, the pressure for Green Belt development would be much worse.”

Solihull Greens respond

Solihull Green Party councillor and planning spokesman Max McLoughlin said: “The Council’s plans themselves are the biggest threat to the greenbelt that the borough has faced. Had they brought plans for the town centre and Arden Cross (HS2), as was asked over a year ago, we might save thousands of hectares of greenbelt. But they haven’t. I’m really worried that people won’t know what’s happening till they see the bulldozers arriving and it’s all too late.

“At a minimum, the Conservatives need to extend how long people are allowed to comment on this and open these plans up to scrutiny. At the moment, it looks like the pledges are a diversion from what the plan is really about; carving up greenbelt for developers whilst everyone is preoccupied with the pandemic.”


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