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Birmingham eyes 1,000 acres of Bromsgrove green belt for housing

Birmingham eyes 1,000 acres of Bromsgrove green belt for housing

🕔15.Sep 2014

The prospect of Birmingham council obtaining planning permission for housing development in the Bromsgrove green belt has moved a step closer.

Council chiefs have been heartened by the Planning Inspectorate’s admission that a review of green belt land to the south-west of Birmingham with a view to identifying land for new homes will be necessary.

The city council owns just over 1,000 acres in Worcestershire and wants to use some of the land to address a severe housing shortage.

As many as 120,000 new homes will be needed in Birmingham by 2031 to meet demand, according to council planners. But brownfield land available inside the city boundary will accommodate no more than 50,000 dwellings.

A controversial attempt to build about 5,000 homes in the Sutton Coldfield green belt has grabbed the headlines with little attention being paid until now to large scale housing schemes in the south-west.

A report to the Birmingham cabinet sets out the latest developments: “The inspector appointed to examine the Bromsgrove Plan has published an interim report which makes it clear that there will be a need for a green belt review to be undertaken in Bromsgrove in the near future to address both Bromsgrove’s longer term housing needs and any requirement to accommodate some of Birmingham’s growth.

“The areas of land that are in the city council’s ownership fall within the area that will be subject to this review.”

The report continued: “Birmingham city council is working collaboratively with neighbouring authorities, including Bromsgrove district council, in order to address a significant housing shortfall emerging in Birmingham.

“Birmingham council has submitted supporting comments to Bromsgrove’s Local Plan submission with the caveat that Bromsgrove council will continue to work collaboratively with Birmingham and other neighbouring authorities to agree a strategy for addressing this issue and, in the event this might require additional housing in Bromsgrove then this should be considered as part of a wider green belt review as part of the local plan.”

Deputy council leader Ian Ward (Lab Shard End) made it clear that not all of the 1,000 acres, mainly farmland, would have to be developed.

There would be full consultation with affected parties before any decision was taken, he promised.

Cllr Bruce Lines (Con), whose Bartley Green ward borders Bromsgrove district, claimed the scale of green belt housing planned by Birmingham in Worcestershire would be “twice the size” of the planned Sutton proposal.

The scheme was “an insult to the people of Birmingham”, Cllr Lines added.

Birmingham council’s director of planning and regeneration Waheed Nazir warned earlier in the year that all of Birmingham’s neighbours would have to sacrifice green belt land to address the city’s housing crisis.

Mr Nazir told the Future Cities seminar that Birmingham was looking toward Coventry, Solihull and Bromsgrove for land.

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