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Wednesday August 15 2018

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In Full . . .

‘Don’t say its name’

Posted on March 29 2018 at 12:43:16

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There have been mixed responses to the GL Hearn report among parish and district councillors across The Village area, with some fearing that even by talking about it they might be giving it too much credence.

Alvechurch parish councillor Mark Worrall said: “It is very early days. The more we talk about it the more real it becomes. We should heed the warnings, but hope that Green Belt policies override it, as it makes a mockery of UK Green Belt policy.”

District and county councillor Charlie Hotham said: “This report should be set aside until Bromsgrove has done its own review.

By putting this forward for consultation in June, it gives credence and credibility to a study in which local councils have not had much involvement at all.

“It’s a very unhelpful document,” he added.

Coun Hotham and other independent councillors at Bromsgrove have tabled a motion to the full council meeting later this month asking for the report to be ignored until the district’s own Green Belt review is complete.

Coun Kit Taylor, Bromsgrove’s planning portfolio holder, told Lickey & Blackwell parish councillors: “The study does not mean the death of the Green Belt – there has been a lot of hysteria so far.”

He added: “We do have to be pragmatic and build affordable housing on Green Belt land, as we want to keep young people in Bromsgrove and they are currently priced out of the market.”

Coun Stephen Nock asked: “Not to be cynical, but is this study a done deal? The local stations have been improved, and now we hear about a plan for all these houses.”

Coun Taylor replied: “Absolutely not; there are no secret deals. We have not agreed to take anything. This is not a consultation document – it merely informs us of Birmingham’s needs.“

He added: “By thinking about how it would look, it sounds like you have already accepted that this is going to happen, and we don’t know that yet.”

At Barnt Green, parish chairman Robert Cholmondeley said: “This is the biggest issue facing Barnt Green and this area. The worrying side of this is that when you have got something written, people will say: ‘The study says . . . ‘”

Coun Cholmondeley pointed out that after the study was received, the Chancellor announced money to develop brownfield sites for new housing in Birmingham and the rest of the West Midlands.

Coun Charlie Hotham agreed that Birmingham should be looking at building houses on its brownfield sites “rather than going straight for the Green Belt”.

Barnt Green councillors voted to liaise with neighbouring parish councils to consider the consequences of the study.

Meanwhile, Bromsgrove’s Strategic Planning and Conservation Manager, Mike Dunphy, urged villagers to wait until The Bromsgrove District Plan Review - Issues and Options was issued for consultation in June before making comments. 

Above: The Village magazine in 2000 and 2011 and the GL Hearn study.

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