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Birmingham Business Park expansion refusal welcomed

MARSTON Green residents are celebrating another victory in their ongoing battle to restrict development in their village.

MARSTON Green residents are celebrating another victory in their ongoing battle to restrict development in their village.

Plans to expand Birmingham Business Park, which were opposed by many local people, have been thrown out by the Government.

The proposals would have seen a leisure centre, hotel and offices built on the the existing site - eating into green belt land and sparking fears about congestion on nearby roads.

Goodman International Ltd, the company behind the plans, argued that the expansion would create over 1,800 jobs and boost the regeneration of north Solihull.

Solihull Council had already rejected the proposals in summer 2007 - prompting Goodman to appeal. Now the Planning Inspectorate has upheld the original decision.

Rick Smallwood, a long-standing resident of Coleshill Heath Road, said: "Residents were worried about the increase of traffic - a survey showed that 2-3,000 more cars would be using Coleshill Heath Road every day."

In the end, the Inspectorate dismissed the plans because of the effect they would have had on the green belt. There was also some dispute about the number of jobs that the park would actually generate.

Linda Poulson, spokeswoman for Marston Green Opposing Overdevelopment (MGOOD), said: "This would have had catastrophic consequences for the village and we are extremely relieved that once again common sense has prevailed."

Campaigners have also praised Solihull Council, who defended their original decision at the public inquiry held a few months ago.

Councillor Bob Sleigh (Con, Bickenhill) said: "We've proved that as a community we're a tough cookie and have fought very hard to keep the character of the area in tact.

"I think the lesson that other parts of Solihull and the rest of the country can learn is that people will listen if a community comes together and is clear about what it wants."

The Solihull Times was unable to get a comment from Goodman before going to press.

 

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