11:57am Thursday 17th July 2014
BATTLE lines are being drawn ahead of a fight to stop a housing estate being built on Coombeswood Green Wedge.
Furious councillors, residents and environmentalists are determined to stop yet more green belt being eaten up by housing in Halesowen.
Councillor Karen Shakespeare (Halesowen North) contacted the News after being told about St Modwen’s plans for an 80-house development on the wedge.
She said: “We were promised by St Modwen that they would not build any more houses but we have heard about plans for 80 to be built on or near Pottery Farm.
“This is what I came into politics for, to protect the wedge for future generations, and I will fight tooth and nail to stop any more houses being built by St Modwen.”
She added: “A planning application has yet to be submitted so we are playing the waiting game but I am already working with residents to stop this.
“We have this wonderful wildlife corridor and cannot let it be built on. There are plenty of brownfield sites across Halesowen and Dudley that could be developed.”
Five years ago, St Modwen beat fierce local opposition to move Coombs Wood Cricket Club onto the wedge to make way for houses on its old ground.
The new complex was handed over to the club last year.
Chairman of Hales Owen Abbey Trust Mick Freer said: “I know the proposed development is planned for land once farmed from Pottery Farm.
“This land links Coombeswood Green Wedge to the Leasowes and provides a vital wildlife corridor which we have to protect.
“The wedge will not be viable if it becomes detached.”
He added: “Any new development we believe will be on green belt land and be inside the landscape heritage area and will ruin views across the landscape, it cannot be allowed to happen.”
John Dodds, St. Modwen’s Midlands regional director, did not rule out another development in Halesowen. He said: “We are considering our options for the Halesowen area but remain committed to retaining and enhancing open green space and amenities for residents.
“Last month alone St. Modwen signed a 50 year lease on the 12 acre Green Wedge in Coombs Wood, enabling Dudley Council to create a natural environment for residents. It included a substantial financial contribution to the area’s future maintenance.
“We have also agreed to invest £60,000 to support the recruitment and ongoing employment of a warden to look after the Green Wedge, ensuring that it is maintained and remains an attractive place for local residents to visit and enjoy.”
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