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‘Hell-bent’ on Hearn

Posted on May 29 2018 at 2:13:05

Hopes that any consideration of a proposed “garden village” between Alvechurch and Barnt Green would be shelved were dashed when Conservative councillors got together to keep it on the agenda.

The GL Hearn report, Greater Birmingham Housing Market Area Strategic Growth Study, which suggests 10,000 to 15,000 homes could be built on Village Green Belt to soak up the metropolis’s housing needs, will now be considered by the council as it develops its district plan.

Fearing the impact of such a development, dubbed “Barntchurch”, Barnt Green and Hopwood independent councillor Charlie Hotham proposed a motion that the Hearn report should be ignored for

The motion proposed:”Bromsgrove District Council will temporarily set aside the broad brush basic report of Hearn until such time as its own in-depth comprehensive review of the Green Belt has been completed.

Only then will the content and conclusions of the Hearn report be considered alongside our own detailed investigation into the Green Belt.”

But the Conservative group, which has a majority of councillors, voted together to defeat the motion. The justification of their stance, as detailed by planning portfolio holder Kit Taylor to Alvechurch Parish Council, was that the district plan would not be valid if they did not consider the Hearn report.

He told them: “It exists so we have to take notice of it because it’s there. If we do a plan without it, an inspector will say it is incomplete.”

Coun Taylor did, however, add: “The Green Belt review is not for the benefit of Birmingham. It is a consultation that we are going to do.”

Coun Hotham told The Village: “The outcome of this vote is very disappointing but not surprising; it seems all too common for political party loyalty to be put before the best interests of the electorate.

“The controlling group, for some reason, seems hell-bent on putting this report out for consultation ASAP.

“All I am calling for is that the Hearn report consulatation is suspended until we have completed our Green Belt review and then a do a joint consultation exercise alongside other evidence that will emerge.

“This then allows a more balanced and measured consultation process.”

Coun Hotham added: “I am at a loss to understand the argument that we need to consult now otherwise the planning Inspector will find our review unsound. This is clearly nonsense.”

Who voted to include ‘Barntchurch’ study?

A number of Village area district councillors voted to keep the Hearn report under consideration. They were:

June Griffiths, Alvechurch South

Kit Taylor, Lickey Hills

Richard Deeming, Cofton

Peter Whittaker, Tardebigge

Brian Cooper, Marlbrook

Caroline Spencer, Slideslow

Phil Thomas, Aston Fields

The next elections to Bromsgrove District Council are scheduled for May 2019, less than a year away.

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