A PLAN to build 190 homes and a new primary school on a former Sandwell golf course has been approved – despite receiving 200 objections.

Sandwell Council’s planning committee supported a move to build the new housing, school and a new public park on the former Brandhall Golf Course in Oldbury.

The application for the council-owned land, made by engineering consultants AECOM on behalf of Sandwell Council, was approved unanimously by councillors despite the wave of objections.

Nearly five per cent of trees across the green space would be cut down to make way for the new homes and primary school.

A quarter of the homes would be classed as ‘affordable’ housing but would not be social housing.

Despite the green space being a park and a former golf course, planners at Sandwell Council said the planning application did not need an environmental impact assessment when it was submitted. 

Sandwell Council denied the decision meant it was brushing aside any environmental concerns.

A total of 200 objections were made against the application after it was submitted including those from the Brandhall Green Space Action Group, which was initially formed to fight off the threat of any building on the green space after the golf course closed in 2019.

This resulted in Sandwell Council tracking back on a move to build 550 homes on the same land.

Independent councillor Jay Anandou, who represents the Old Warley ward, told the planning committee that he had been assured in 2021 that residents would be consulted on the plans for the former golf course – and that those views would be “implemented.”

He said despite 83 per cent of people saying in the survey that they did not want to see the site developed – Sandwell Council’s cabinet approved the plans anyway.

“From start to finish, Sandwell Council never listened to the residents,” he said. “Despite promising to do so.”

“If the council had listened we wouldn’t all be sitting here discussing this application. Yet here we are.”

Labour councillor Jenny Chidley, who represents the Wednesbury South ward, accused Cllr Anandou of “making it political.”

“I could make it political,” she said. “We’ve got a right to buy and there’s a lack of council houses. And that’s why we need to build the houses.

“We’ve got brownfield sites but we’re still not reaching our targets. This is green land not green belt. It’s classed as ‘white’ land… because at the moment that land is not in use.

“We’re only using 20 per cent of the site [for building], you’re still going to have 80 per cent… you’re still going to have biodiversity. 

Labour councillor Liam Preece said despite his great respect for the campaign to protect the green space, he was having to look at the application through the “cold lens of regulation and legislation.”

“If this space had been designated as a formal park years ago, a planning application like this couldn’t have been considered,” he said. “However, it wasn’t and bearing in mind the very legitimate good points made by the objectors around environmental concerns, on balance, I feel the proposal to retain green space is sufficient to allow most of those concerns.”