|LOST LAND: Moat House Farm is one of the sites which has been|
developed in recent years.
MARSTON Green is now almost “totally surrounded” by industrial development, borough councillors were warned this month.
Local woman Pat Preece called for greater protection of the green belt, amid concerns that swathes of open space are being built on in and around the village.
Addressing Full Council on behalf of residents, Ms Preece spoke of fears that there were too many loopholes in the laws put in place to prevent urban sprawl.
“There is a get-out clause and this seems to be to use the words ‘only in exceptional circumstances’ as an excuse whenever a decision is made to build on green belt land.
“It’s truly amazing how many exceptional circumstances there are in Solihull MBC.”
Noting that the village already experienced gridlock on a regular basis, Ms Preece said that other developments in the pipeline would only make matters worse.
These include Arden Cross, a 4,000 home development near Stonebridge, and the 24-7 warehouse distribution centre on the outskirts of the village.
“Given the imminent development of these projects we would like to propose to the council that the needs of the environment should take first priority. At the moment, the well-being of the citizen comes last.”
In an effort to address the problem, she said that residents were in favour of setting up a committee, comprising of both local people and borough and parish councillors, to promote green development.
The task force they are proposing would also focus on the preservation of ancient trees and efforts to create more walking routes between the village’s green spaces.
Councillor Ian Courts, cabinet member for managed growth, insisted that the local authority had often resisted attempts by developers to push for “massively increased” housing targets.
“I would expect that every member here would share my concern, and this council’s concern, for protection of the green belt,” he said.
“It is a legal obligation that Solihull has to cater for its housing need and indeed it also has to make a contribution for some of its neighbours who are unable to deal with their own housing growth.”
Coun Courts noted that the latest version of the borough’s Local Plan would see the removal of around two per cent of the green belt - well below the proportions set to be sacrificed by the likes of Birmingham and Manchester.