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CPRE joins fight to save green belt from housing

The campaign to save Sutton Coldfield's green belt from more than 6,000 homes has heated up once again - after a national charity that protects rural countryside has attacked the city council's proposals.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has written to the Government's Minister for Planning in a bid to modify Birmingham's Development Plan 2031, which could see 6,000 homes being built on Sutton Coldfield's green belt.

In the letter to Gavin Barwell, Minister for Planning, the CPRE proposed changes to remove the Langley green belt from the Birmingham 2031 plan altogether.

It reads: "CPRE Warwickshire writes to ask you to use the Secretary of State's power to modify the Birmingham Plan, to delete the proposed allocation Langley Sustainable Urban Extension from the plan before it is adopted by the city council.

"We also request that while you indicate support for the Plan Policy, which is to provide 51,100 dwellings in the city, you should indicate to the city council that this housing requirement can be met without the allocation of green belt land for the Langley Urban Extension, by;

A: Increasing the number of dwellings expected to be provided through windfall development.

B: Bringing more empty properties back into use within the city.
"CPRE believes that there is adequate information in the evidence base considered by examination to allow you to conclude that the (a) windfall allowance in the plan is low compared to past windfall delivery and housing in the city, and the (b) plan underestimates the number of empty properties which can be brought back into use.

"The plan can thus deliver more than the aimed-for 51,000 dwellings up to 2031 without needing to release any green belt at Langley in the period to 2031.

"The Secretary of State made clear in the Commons on July 18 that, 'the green belt is absolutely sacrosanct. Unless there are very exceptional circumstances, we should not be carrying out any development on it.'"

The modifications include:
To remove the Langley green belt from the proposal
Proposed number of dwellings will be delivered within the existing urban area
Bringing more empty properties back into use within the city.

Following the Government direction to Birmingham City Council to stop all further work on the Birmingham Development Plan 2031, Andrew Mitchell MP has written to the Department for Communities and Local Government in support of the Campaign to Protect Rural England's proposal to modify the Birmingham Development Plan without any major upset to the Plan or to the proposal for 51,100 houses to be provided within the city boundaries.

Andrew Mitchell added: "I have always maintained that we in Sutton Coldfield are not proponents of 'not in my back yard' (NIMBYISM).

"We fully understand and actively support the view that more homes must be built if future generations are to enjoy the housing opportunities that our generation has enjoyed and indeed Sutton's Councillors have consistently accepted planning applications that have increased the density of housing in Sutton."

"But homes must be built in the right places and we must maximise the huge opportunities available to us as highlighted by the CPRE to build new and fulfilling communities featuring proper infrastructure and opportunity."

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