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Solihull Council vows to carry on the fight after motorway service station victory

SOLIHULL Council leader Ken Meeson has given an assurance that if another contentious scheme like the M42 service station comes along, the authority will not baulk at the cost of fighting it if necessary.

SOLIHULL Council leader Ken Meeson has given an assurance that if another contentious scheme like the M42 service station comes along, the authority will not baulk at the cost of fighting it if necessary.

He was speaking after the council revealed it had spent around £1 million of taxpayers’ money on opposing the motorway proposals in order to defend the green belt.

A plan for a 65-acre service area on the edge of Catherine-de-Barnes and a similar scheme at junction 4 of the motorway have been thrown out by the Government.

Councillor Meeson told the Solihull Times he was “not shocked” it had cost as much as £1 million for the council to fight the proposals.

He said: “We had to hold full public consultations, carry out environmental impact studies and be represented by barristers at the two local inquiries into the plans - we knew this was going to cost an awful lot of money.

“Local authorities cannot avoid this expense when acting in the interests of the public.”

Cllr Meeson added that if the council found itself short of money to mount opposition to another big development issue affecting the borough it would have to raise the funds through savings or services or through council tax.

He said that although the two schemes had been rejected, the Government inspector who conducted the inquiry made it clear a service station is still needed.

“Perhaps one could be built towards Tamworth - anywhere that’s not in Solihull,” he said.

 

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