THE Leader of Solihull Council has promised a full consultation over plans to build thousands of new homes in Solihull.
Councillor Ian Hedley told his fellow cabinet members that “nothing should be ruled in or out” at this stage of the process.
His comments follow a backlash from communities, who argue that extra homes will stretch services to breaking point.
David Deanshaw, from Balsall Common Residents’ Association, had already told last Thursday’s meeting about the concerns of villagers.
“Is it your intention to double the size of Balsall Common and, if so, there needs to be serious questions about infrastructure,” he said.
Marston Green residents have also voiced concerns about farmland and green-belt earmarked for development.
“I think the most important thing is that we get people’s views,” said Coun Hedley.
“If 1,500 people in Marston Green and Chelmsley Wood say they don’t want something to happen, then that’s a very strong message to us.”
But he added that the council also had to tackle the shortage of affordable and social housing.
“I have people coming to me saying that their grown-up children can’t find homes locally and have had to move out of Solihull.
“It’s our responsibility to make sure there is a sufficient amount of housing available to people.”
Tory councillors have criticised the way that the Lib-Lab administration has handled the situation so far.
The original proposals had been sent back to scrutiny, following objections from the Conservative group.
Coun Ken Meeson said: “It seems to me you are making a complete pig’s breakfast of this issue. This could have been resolved two months ago.”
The Lib-Lab cabinet agreed to some of the amendments that were put forward by scrutiny and the planning committee.
But they said they would not remove land on Coleshill Heath Road - which residents are fighting to protect - from the list of potential development sites.
“We can’t pre-judge this,” argued Coun Hedley.