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Village residents urged to engage online over Barnt Green housing estate

Posted on September 27 2013 at 12:02:11

Residents of Barnt Green are being encouraged to use social media to share their concerns about contentious plans for a housing development which could see the village swell in size by approximately 12 per cent.

Villagers have, for many years, opposed the proposed development of 88 new homes on an open field site at the entrance to the village, and on the edge of the picturesque Lickey Hills Country Park.

Now, the Barnt Green Residents Association (BGRA) is calling on those living in the village and surrounding area to get involved on Facebook and Twitter as the plans for this large expansion scheme enter a critical phase.

Bromsgrove District Council has already granted permission for the bulldozing of the field to make way for housing, but developer Banner Homes has now submitted a revised application for the site which has received much less publicity than the original proposals. It is still likely, however, to go ahead as the council struggles to meet housing targets.

Objections include the comparatively high density of the housing, the proximity to a conservation area, the impact on traffic and parking, and the pressure that such an expansion will put on already stretched services.

The BGRA has set up Facebook www.facebook.com/barntgreenra and Twitter twitter.com/barntgreenra accounts to encourage those in and around Barnt Green to share their concerns about the development, get involved and to reignite the discussion about the impact it will have on peoples’ lives.

All comments will be regularly collated and passed to the appropriate authorities for response.

Ita Curtis, Chairman of the BGRA says:  “It is clear that the people of the village do not want this development. 

“Not necessarily because it destroys a valued and popular piece of open land, but because of the sheer density of the development, and the undoubted impact that this influx of housing will have on our busy community.

“We also consider that there are a substantial number of material planning issues that still need to be addressed.

“Bromsgrove Council is struggling to meet targets for housing and this piece of land is an easy target.

“A major new development is already underway just over the Birmingham border with the regeneration of Longbridge, which would surely satisfy any housing need in this part of the West Midlands.

“As this scheme is likely to be given the go-ahead in one form or another, we think it is vital to understand residents detailed views on all aspects of the development - whether about the density of the proposed housing, the effect on traffic and parking, disruption during construction, pressure on services or layout of the scheme. 

“We know there are strong views out there - we want to bring them to the forefront of the council’s and developer’s minds in the public domain.

“To this end, we are encouraging as many people in the village to ‘like’ us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter so that we can keep up the debate’s momentum.

“We will pass on all relevant comments to Bromsgrove Council and Banner Homes to ensure that residents maximise their chances of having their views heard. 

“So far, objections seem to have fallen on deaf ears, so the more opinions we collate will allow apply greater pressure.

“Unless managed properly, the benefits to the village and the people who live here are far from clear cut and it is still necessary to campaign for improvements and contributions from Banner Homes.

“This is not a NIMBY argument, there are many significant planning considerations which we feel are being ignored to meet targets. 

“The reason for our social media campaign is to ensure everyone has more of a say than simply being counted as a ‘no’ vote in a pre-decided planning process.”.

Full details of BGRA’s objections to the scheme are available on the Association’s website (www.barnt-greenresidents.org.uk) along with details of how residents can get involved.

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