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Fight over ‘10,000 homes’

Posted on March 20 2008 at 11:46:19

“Can you imagine the public’s reaction if they think Redditch is coming into Alvechurch . . ?”

These were the words of parish councillor Syd Caddick as the reality of what is being considered by regional housing strategists hit home.

“It is a horrible, frightening thought that they can come up to Grange Lane and that Alvechurch could disappear into Redditch,” he told colleagues on Alvechurch Parish Council.

Coun Caddick was responding to Coun Roger Hollingworth, leader of Bromsgrove District Council, who urged the parish council to join a group of councils campaigning against the possibility of 10,000 homes filling the Arrow Valley between Redditch and Alvechurch.

Coun Hollingworth explained that among the housing options being considered by the West Midlands Regional Assembly for the West Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy were:

Option 2: 6,600 houses for Redditch, of which 3,300 could be in Bromsgrove district.

Option 3: 13,300 homes for Redditch, of which 10,000 could be in Bromsgrove district.

“They are talking about 147 hectares (363 acres) of Green Belt,” he said. “We haven’t been given any choice of where this building will go. They have said the houses will go around Redditch, and because there is no infrastructure to the south, they will come north.”

That would mean swallowing fields up the Arrow Valley as far as a line roughly following Stoney Lane, Grange Lane, The Holloway and Storrage Lane.

“It will all become Redditch,” he added. “Julie Kirkbride [the MP for Bromsgrove who has a home near Beoley] will live in Redditch.

“The Green Belt is sacrosanct unless the Government wants to use it,” said Coun Hollingworth.

“We have formed a group comprising Bromsgrove, Redditch and Stratford councils to fight this. The parish council could join in this with them. If we start to break, we will lose the argument.

“We have put a joint letter together for the Secretary of State. The parish council coming in gives us a stronger case.”

It is believed there is still time to make a strong case against the possibility of the regional assembly deciding on option 3, with a decision expected to be made within 12 months.

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