Westminster Column

13th December 2013

Sutton’s Green Belt is under threat and virtually everyone in Sutton is united against Birmingham’s Labour Council plans to build 5,000 homes.

Sutton’s Conservative Councillors spoke out eloquently against the proposal in the Council debate held last Tuesday – led by Councillor Anne Underwood who spoke about the strong opposition throughout our community and the fact that once built on we can never get the Green Belt back. It has gone forever.

Ironically the last time Sutton Coldfield faced a threat like this was also the last time we had a Labour Council in Birmingham.

Of course we all recognise the need to build more homes. Youngsters without access to the bank of Mum & Dad have to wait an unprecedented length of time to buy their own home and the rental market is also restricted for them.

But the question is where these houses are to be built. Building on the Green Belt should be a last resort and not an easy option. I hope that Birmingham City Council will think again.

I will be organising two public meetings during the Public Consultation period which runs from 6 January – 6 March 2014 and will also be walking the Green Belt boundaries with Council officials, Councillors and members of the Civic Society on 3 January 14.

If you object to these proposals please make your voice heard. The Cabinet report, the pre-submission Plan and all the supporting documents are now available to view and download from the Birmingham City Council website www.birmingham.gov.uk/plan2031. The documents can also be viewed in libraries and neighbourhood offices where a summary will also be available. Comments can be made online and I would encourage you to use this option if you wish to comment. Written comments will also be accepted and forms are available for this purpose. Forms can be obtained by ringing 01213033075, by emailing planningstrategy@birmingham.gov.uk or from libraries and neighbourhood offices or by writing to Planning and Regeneration, Birmingham City Council, PO Box 28, Birmingham B1 1TU.

Also any letters to me objecting to these proposals will also be forwarded to the Council for their consideration. However, it is essential that we all make our contribution to the Consultation process.