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Green Belt under attack

LOCAL residents fear that radical changes to national planning law could open the floodgates to a whole new housing estate - and have wider implications across the whole of the borough.

LOCAL residents fear that radical changes to national planning law could open the floodgates to a whole new housing estate - and have wider implications across the whole of the borough.

Proposals to develop land off Leys Lane, on the outskirts of Meriden, have been dismissed on several previous occasions.

But locals worry that a shake-up of national planning policy might persuade Solihull Council to give the latest scheme the green-light.

Taylor Wimpey, who own the land, are expected to submit a planning application for 40-50 homes next month.

Campaigner Iain Roxburgh, who is rallying residents against the scheme, has hit out at central Government accusing them of “moving the goal posts”.

“Under the changes there would be a presumption for development,” he said. “We know it will be a tough fight.

“It seems that the developers have seized this opportunity and are hoping they will be successful this time.

“But if we are serious about protecting the Meriden Gap then developments like this have to be resisted.

“This would put strain on the local infrastructure and be a step closer to turning the village into a suburb.”

His comments come just weeks after the borough’s MPs dismissed fears that the reforms proposed by Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles MP, would make things easier for developers.

“We will give local communities the power to protect green spaces that mean so much to them,” Meriden MP Caroline Spelman told us when the changes first came to light.

In Leys Lane, the development would see the road widened, ancient hedgerow destroyed and allotments relocated.

Resident Colin Whelan claimed that it would “destroy the rural character” of one of the village’s oldest roads.

Taylor Wimpey maintains that there remains a shortage of homes to meet the housing needs of the borough.

 

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