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Wednesday October 21 2020

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thesquare

In Full . . .

Look at the bigger picture

Posted on May 20 2008 at 11:49:23

Reference the letters from Messrs Smith and Higgins of Hopwood in your May issue: enough is enough.

Firstly let me point out that Julie Kirkbride MP listened to the residents of Hopwood and made every representation that she could to ensure that their case was heard fairly.

She and I made sure that it was presented to the full planning committee but the final decision by them must be based on planning policies.

In this particular instance because the decision by the planning committee was a departure from Green Belt policy we insisted that it was sent to the Secretary of State for ratification or not.

What Messrs Smith and Higgins do not appear to understand is that we cannot do anything which could lead to charges of corruption.

We cannot interfere with the planning process and we cannot lobby other councillors as this will prejudice them.

As for the pot calling the kettle black, the small piece of Green Belt in Hopwood is infill. It is surrounded on all sides by houses or waste land.

The Regional Spatial Strategy is talking about 3,300 houses in the Green Belt, not 20, of which only 14 will actually be in the Green Belt. If Baroness Andrews has her way there could be another 7,000.

That is the good news: there could be even worse news to come. I have been speaking with the chairman of the Regional Assembly’s Planning Partnership.

This is the group that is setting the housing targets for the next 20 years in the West Midlands and he tells me that they are looking to expand Birmingham. The M42 could be the new Birmingham boundary.

The current proposed housing figure for the West Midlands is 365,000 but Baroness Andrews has instructed this non-elected body to increase this to 441,000

They are looking at doing this by expanding the urban growth areas, in our case Redditch and Birmingham.

The worst case scenario is that Bordesley, Alvechurch and Hopwood could all disappear as Redditch and Birmingham join up.

Am I scare mongering? No. This is what we are currently fighting. I am sorry for the residents of Hopwood, but alongside this the Hopwood problem pales into insignificance.

Roger Hollingworth
Leader, Bromsgrove District Council


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