CONSERVATIONISTS are celebrating after Dudley Council included the Coombeswood Wedge on its list of community assets.

The move, conservationists hope, will stave off development on the Halesowen beauty spot.

The wedge was the only park or nature reserve not to be included in the new Dudley Council community infrastructure levy list which will meant it would have missed out on maintenance costs for years to come.

Life-long conservationist John Ebrey, from Halesowen, is delighted with the council's U-turn.

He said: "It's pleasing to hear now that the Wedge will be specifically mentioned in the Dudley Borough Area Development Action Plan extending to 2026.

"It has been an uphill and at times tiresome battle on my part and others involved."

He added: "Coombeswood Wedge will now be kept in the frame and its future as a developing site of exceptional importance to our reducing populations of many bird species will hopefully be assured. "Myself and colleagues with the West Midlands Bird Club and British Trust for Ornithology will be continuing with our surveys."

He said: "But most importantly the wedge is a unique community asset, which now should be assured of protection from intrusive developments for all time."

Developer St Modwen own several of the fields on the wedge and there have been longstanding fears houses will be built on the site.

Bird expert Mr Ebrey, who has carried out surveys for the British Trust for Ornithology for 30 years, believes the an undeveloped wedge is vitally important for the environment.

He said: "The wedge is an essential location and a both nationally and locally important migration route for our birds in the UK."

Birds including the small white, green veined white, brimstone, orange tip, small tortoiseshell, peacock, red admiral, common blue and the holly blue have been sighted on the wedge.

The British Trust for Ornithology in Birmingham and the West Midlands will be carrying out surveys for birds on the wedge this year.