PLANS for 45 new homes in the Meriden Gap have been dismissed by councillors as “premature.”
Taylor Wimpey UK had submitted an application for the development on land off Leys Lane, Meriden, arguing there was a lack of housing available for the next five years.
But over 30 Meriden residents objected, backed by councillor David Bell (Con), claiming the development would erode the greenbelt, access was not viable and would “destroy the rural character of Leys Lane.”
Resident Iain Roxburgh told the committee granting the application could set a dangerous precedent as land around Meriden is “owned by developers making long-term speculative bets.”
The land was also recently removed from the list of ‘possible future housing land’ sites in the borough while the draft Meriden Parish Design Statement seeks to get it reclassified as greenbelt.
Coun Alan Martin, (Con, Bickenhill), said: “This is safeguarded land. We need desperately to protect green land, particularly the Meriden Gap. You need very special circumstances to build on greenbelt. There also is a very ancient hedgerow and would be a significant loss if removed.”
Coun John Windmill (Lib Dem, Olton) said the plans were “premature” but warned that there was a housing issue in the borough that need to be addressed. “On social housing, we have over 14,000 applications. Some of your children... where will they be housed in the future? It’s a national problem but we must be careful, if everything is decided on a local level, the usual response is ‘not in my back yard.”
The plans were unanimously refused at the committee meeting last week.
Mr Roxburgh was delighted: “It’s at the edge of the greenbelt and we want it to remain as such. If we want to protect the greenbelt, we will have to start now.
“There is a housing issue but we’re determined that it can be addressed within the village. With 88 houses being built nearby at Maxstoke Drive, we’re fully over our fair share of developments.”