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United stand in face of 20,000 new homes plan

SOLIHULL Council is making a stand against a recent Government study which suggested the borough may have to accommodate as many as 20,600 new homes.

SOLIHULL Council is making a stand against a recent Government study which suggested the borough may have to accommodate as many as 20,600 new homes.

The figure has been condemned across the political spectrum with many worried such widespread development could damage the character of the area.

This week, the leaders of the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour groups were united in condemning the target.

While the Government report has been given the cold shoulder, a review by the West Midlands Regional Spacial Strategy will largely be supported by the authority. That report set the borough’s housing target at an additional 7,600 before 2026.

Councillor Ken Meeson, leader of the Tory controlled council, said: “The scenarios put forward by the Government Office for the West Midlands study are based on trends and arithmetic and not on important policies such as urban regeneration.

“It also shows a complete disregard for our local distinctiveness and the need to protect the green belt and character of the borough while supporting regeneration where it is so needed.”

Coun Norman Davies, leader of the Lib Dem group, said that the decision should ultimately be made by the local authority.

“We believe that we, as the local council, are best placed to decide what is needed for our borough and we will use every opportunity to protect its unique character,” he added.

And Coun Mick Corser, leader of the Labour group, agreed that the quota would threaten green belt land - although he did think there was a need for more affordable housing in the borough.

The council is also planning its own consultation and will be asking local people for their views on the subject of new housing. Details on how people can air their views will be made available soon.

 

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