EMBATTLED residents in Marston Green have resumed their fight against plans to put a whole new housing site on ancient farmland.
The public inquiry into plans to build 125 homes, at Moat House Farm, Elmdon Road, got underway on Tuesday.
Proceedings were late starting after it became apparent there wasn’t enough room at the original venue, the SIMTR Centre.
The inquiry was adjourned to the more spacious surroundings of Marston Green Village Hall, a stone’s throw from the disputed land.
Around 80 residents packed inside the building to show their opposition to the scheme.
Planning Inspector Jessica Graham will consider evidence for and against the controversial development.
“I am aware about the strength of local feeling as I have read the many representations,” she told the inquiry.
Developers Persimmon Homes Ltd had appealed to the Government after Solihull Council threw out the plans last summer.
Jeremy Cahill QC, for the developer, argued the farmland had been considered for development for 20 years.
“The onus is on the council to prove the harm that would flow from releasing this site now,” he said.
“The coalition Government has repeatedly emphasised the importance of building housing.”
But Nadia Sharif, representing Solihull Council, said the councillors’ decision to reject the plans had been “reasonable and correct.” She said it would be premature to allow the development now and would alienate members of the local community.
The inquiry is also due to hear from action-group MGOOD (Marston Green Optimising Our Development) and Marston Green Residents’ Association.
It is scheduled to end next week and Ms Graham’s decision will follow in the spring.
* For the latest from the inquiry and on the history of the site, read next week’s Solihull News.