Last month in my “View from the House” column I mentioned concerns I had received regarding potential development on the fields alongside Queslett Road East. Local residents were understandably worried about conversations they had seen taking place on social media about a potential large-scale development on the site and the impact it would have on Streetly, and our local services, and the detrimental impact likely to be caused by loss of the Green Belt.
I am pleased to report that it has been confirmed to me that this site, and a potential development known as “Columba Park”, is not the subject of a planning application. However it demonstrates to me exactly why we need to remain vigilant about any such development and the need for us to continue to seek safeguards for our precious Green Belt and Open Spaces against speculative development.
It is worth noting however that the Queslett Road East site has been highlighted in the proposed Black Country Core Strategy which has been commissioned by the four Black Country Councils, including Walsall. In August 2017 I submitted my own comments to the consultation and through this column encouraged other residents to do the same. The strategy is essentially about planning for our future, including Housing, Employment, Environment and Transport.
Importantly for us, this consultation is looking at housing needs up to 2036, and seeks to identify future growth areas within the Aldridge-Brownhills constituency and surrounding area. I made clear in my submission to the consultation that, when considering housing development, we should always take a ‘Brownfield first’ approach allowing us to protect our precious Green Belt.
Whilst it had been envisaged that the next round of public consultation on the Black Country Core Strategy was to be towards the end of 2019 it is my understanding that this is now likely to be in early 2020. I will seek to continue to keep residents informed of any further progression or update I become aware of. In the meantime if residents would like to look at further details about this strategy they can do so by visiting www.blackcountrycorestrategy.dudley.gov.uk/
To be clear, I would like to assure you that I remain committed to the protection of our Green Belt and Open Spaces. I will continue to advocate a Brownfield First development strategy and as long as I am your Member of Parliament I will seek to protect the interests of Streetly ensuring that we are not simply subsumed into a suburb of a Greater Birmingham.
Parliament is now in a short recess for Easter, but locally my work continues, and as ever I look forward to meeting you when I am out and about. This weekend we celebrate Easter, the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church, celebrating the resurrection of Christ. Let us also celebrate this Easter the strong tradition that we have in our country for religious tolerance and freedom of speech.
Let me also take this opportunity to wish you a peaceful and Happy Easter.
This article was first published in the Sutton Observer on 19th April 2019.