Green Belt under threat from housing development

Saturday, October 30 2010

A concerted campaign has been launched to preserve a green belt site bordering a popular nature conservation area in the Black Country.

Outraged residents and West Midlands MEP Mike Nattrass have expressed their dismay over controversial plans to develop large residential properties on green belt land adjacent to Great Barr Conservation Area in Pheasey.

Members of Walsall Council’s Planning Committee are to meet on November 11 to discuss proposals to convert the former pub in Sutton Road into a large residential property and to build a further four homes plus lake near to the conservation area.

Under the scheme, four detached properties would be built on the green belt site in Sutton Road and the former Three Crowns public house would be turned into a residential property.

The plans however, have sparked a backlash from residents and UKIP MEP Mike Nattrass who fear the proposed development would encroach a site of importance for nature conservation.

Derek Bennett, chairman of the Walsall UKIP branch and a Pheasey Park Farm resident, has written to Walsall Council to formally object to the plans.

He said: “I feel I have little option but to object to these plans which are out of keeping with the area and, from what I can gather, would contravene the Green Belt.”

Commenting on the plans, Sutton Road resident David Baker said: “This site is within existing Green Belt land and is immediately adjacent to a site of importance for nature conservation and the Great Barr Conservation Area.

“Planning consent within a site of this importance is rarely granted. Only in the most exceptional circumstances would permission be given, and, clearly, every effort should be made to protect the site and the integrity of its status.

“The Green Belt land is for us all to protect, not only for our enjoyment, but for future generations.”

Mike Nattrass MEP, a fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, added: “This is clearly not the right location for such a plan and I support residents in their calls for the Green Belt to be saved.

“Sites like this are precious and should be safe from the threat of development. I call on Walsall Council to reject these plans and secure the future of this site.”