Green Belt under new threat after 6,000 homes approved

The surprising decision to allow 6,000 new homes on a Green Belt site in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, has alarmed locals and members of the Conservative party due to fears that it could set a precedent.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, approved the proposal stating that he will support other local authorities that propose sensible, robust local plans that involve building on the Green Belt. He stated, “Birmingham City Council has put forward a plan to meet some of its local housing need by removing Green Belt designation from a small area of land. The Plan is supported by the independent planning inspectorate but it is fundamentally a local decision made by local people… They have looked at all the options. They have considered all the implications, that is why we have lifted the central government hold on the Birmingham Local Plan.”

The decision to allow 6,000 new homes has angered locals, with a resident describing it as ‘environmental vandalism.’ Conservative MP for Sutton Coldfield, Andrew Mitchell has warned Javid that there will be disagreements with his party colleagues over the plans and he is now calling for a Commons debate over the decision.

According to government calculations at least 220,000 new homes a year must be built in the next decade to keep up with the population growth, with 89,000 new homes required over the next 15 years for Birmingham’s growing population. Birmingham City Council leader, Cllr John Clancy, has welcomed the decision stating that the release of the Green Belt will help meet the employment land and housing needs in the area.

The local plan is expected to be adopted by Birmingham City Council in early 2017.