Draft Black Country Plan
Representation ID: 11842
Respondent: Mr Richard Knight
The corporate plan outlined in C9 does not align with the Black Country priorities.
Draft Black Country Plan
Representation ID: 12263
Respondent: Mr Anthony Cook
In particular I object to the residential development of green fields sites within the Green belt which will be to the detriment of the area reducing open recreational space with subsequent environmental impacts.
My comments relate to the Walsall Spatial Strategy within the Black Country Plan.
I would much prefer to see residential re-development of brownfield sites reclaimed for this purpose which will bring area's back into productive use for the good of the community. Often suburban brownfield sites already have good communication links etc. Re-intorducing residential living back into town centres will also regenerate such area's creating demand for shops and entertainment facilities.
Draft Black Country Plan
Representation ID: 12464
Respondent: Walsall MBC
Submission on Black Country Plan: Birchills-Leamore Ward, Walsall MBC
Cllr Lee Jeavons
In making this submission I hope to give planners an insight into the Birchills-Leamore Ward in the Borough of Walsall, it’s current make up in terms of land use, recent developments, how current developments are shaping the ward and give an idea of how I think, based on comments to me as a Councillor, land could be used in the future. I note the “duty of co-operation” across wards and boroughs that exists and will refer specifically to a couple of other wards locally so that a picture of how Birchills-Leamore fits in the scheme of things. I will also refer to the needs of the population locally and describe the communities so that a rounded picture may be formed and that this does not become a “NIMBY” submission, which is ignored.
Birchills-Leamore sits just to the north of the main town centre of Walsall and is bounded by the town centre, the M6 Motorway to the west, industrial estates and Bloxwich High Street to its north and the B4210 to the east. The political ward neighbours are St Matthews, Pleck, Blakenall, Bloxwich East and Bloxwich West.
I tend to visualise the ward as being split into 3, with Leamore in the North, Beechdale in the centre and Reedswood/north Walsall in the south. These areas are distinct in themselves, Leamore is really closer to Bloxwich and Blakenall in terms of affinity, Beechdale is a large community that is by and large of itself. Both these communities are largely white British. Reedswood/Birchills and north Walsall has a large British Asian Islamic community. The one thing all these communities have is a high degree of deprivation, a much lower than the national average income, poorer health and education outcomes.
Birchills-Leamore: Recent Development
Being so centrally located the ward has been a popular choice for developers, with its proximity to the centre of Walsall and the sub-centre of Bloxwich, easy access to J10 of the M6 and availability of “brownfield land”. There have been many housing developments within the ward over the last 15 years, though much of this housing has been for private sale and there has been little provision for affordable housing, which is in short supply and desperately required. I will list the recent housing developments, which I believe will show that the population is not averse to regeneration and development:
• Waterside Walk (Water Reed Grove in Leamore, ex-Brownfield)
• Old Walsall MBC depot (Northumberland Way in north Walsall, ex-Brownfield)
• Former Beechdale Primary school (Innovation Way, ex-Brownfield and largely social housing in Beechdale)
• Red River Road (Ex-Brownfield in Beechdale)
• Ragstone Close/Bentley Lane (Ex-Brownfield in Reedswood)
• Smith’s Flour Mill, (Ex-Brownfield in Birchills)
• Rochester Croft/Ludlow Lane (Ex-Brownfield Beechdale/Reedswood)
• Reedswood retail Park (Ex-Brownfield)
• Industrial park off Reedswood Way (ex-Brownfield, being developed out)
• Metafin Site off Green Lane (Permission Granted for apartments, ex-Brownfield)
• Police Station Site, Green Lane (Permission granted for apartments)
• Caparo development (ex-Brownfield, being developed out off Old Birchills in Birchills).
I think it can be seen that much of the available brownfield space has been successfully and by and large, sympathetically, developed out with a couple of other projects in the pipeline. Hundreds of dwellings have been created and assimilated into the ward. Birchills-Leamore then, has been a regeneration success story, but it is worth noting that much of this development has come in the lower two thirds of the ward.
Birchills-Leamore: Historical concerns and Project Reference Group
It was noted by previous Councillors for Birchills-Leamore that the amount of Brown land that existed in the ward made it attractive for development. Local concerns led to the formation of a “Project Reference Group” so that residents could get a handle on how development might be progressed, but in a way that was not piecemeal and that took note of the need for recreational amenity space. As a councillor, I caught the back end of this and the reports producers, Urban Splash, took time to develop a plan which, by and large, was acceptable to all parties. This would have been around 2010-2011.
The plan recognised the need for sympathetic development and amenity space, proposing sympathetic development in corridors along Green Lane (running along the canal) and on the “Metal Casements site”, off Birch St. I understand that the Metal Casements site is in the Black Country plan and I have no objection as it stands to this principle.
The Metafin site is a canal side site that I believe has permissions and as such it fits in with the PRG recommendations. I have no objections to this site being developed in principle.
Another recommendation of the PRG I believe was to consider brown field land (open space) bounded by the canal, Stephenson Avenue, Green Lane and South Staffordshire Water Company building. This may raise some local objection but is preferable to development on other open land and has good transport links via canal to town centre, bus/car to town centre via Green Lane and to the M6 J10.
Birchills-Leamore: Amenity space
Birchills-Leamore ward has a number of areas of amenity space, the jewel of which is Reedswood Park. This is an established park, well used by the local residents (from Pleck and Birchills-Leamore) and some from further afield. It has a mixture of tree lined walks, open space (with a cricket mat), and a BMX/skate area. There is also an outdoor gym. All of these facilities are well used by communities from the Birchills/Reedswood/Beechdale areas. Investment has been made into this park in terms of recognising its value in terms of improving physical and mental health of residents and is fiercely protected by residents from the locale, via the agenda 21 residents group. This group also provides access to cycle hire and maintenance via its “bikelite” project.
Beechdale has a number of open amenity spaces. On the north of the estate, there is Beechdale Park (serving Birchills-Leamore and Bloxwich West), just to the south of the centre of the estate there are Lister Rd Playing fields, with an outdoor gym, basketball cage and children’s play area. To the south of this and off Cavendish Rd we encounter the “Ash track” which in turn links a green area known locally as “the Bayou” (bounded by Cavendish Rd and Reedswood way) , Reedswood park and an area off Reedswood Way known as the “Fishing pools”. This track also runs through what was brown land from the old Power Station site, latterly a golf course and now planted with 2000 trees by Walsall MBC. This Ash track then, links a number of amenity spaces together, but it also provides a cycle route between Beechdale and the canal system to a local primary school at Bentley Drive (Pleck ward) and a secondary school (West Walsall Academy in Pleck ward). This separates children and cars and reduces car journeys.
Leamore has little amenity space available to residents in the Birchills-Leamore ward, other than Odell Road playing fields, a large green area (serving Birchills-Leamore and Bloxwich East) bounded by the railway Odell Road and two schools. Leamore park is in the Blakenall ward and, despite the name, residents and their children from the Birchills-Leamore ward are unlikely to travel to this park as to get there you need to cross the main A34 (Green Lane) and the B4210 (Bloxwich Rd).
Whilst there appears to be quite a lot of open land in the ward, bearing in mind the recent development and the development planned, the need for quality amenity space is going to rise as the population grows. To develop within the ward sympathetically, this should be recognised and be in the Black Country plan. Birchills-Leamore has successfully fulfilled its regeneration objectives up to now and there is potential for more development, but, development of any of the open spaces mentioned above would be detrimental to the health and wellbeing of residents and would not be a balanced regeneration.
Birchills-Leamore: Environmental concerns
Birchills-Leamore is adjacent to the M6 J10, one of the busiest stretches of motorway in Europe. CO2, NOx emissions and PD50 particulates are at high levels and the government has expressed concerns at the levels of pollution around the M6 corridor. The J10 expansion will in the short term relieve some of that pollution, but the J10 development is also aimed at regenerating land around the Black Country Route at Bentley/Darlaston/Willenhall and Pleck. This may also lead to a greater incidence of trips by commercial vehicles. Whilst there is a dash for electric vehicles, it is unlikely that commercial vehicles in the short and medium term will make the move and due to cost and due to terraced housing layout, it may be difficult for many residents in Birchills-Leamore to switch. Green areas then provide some method of offsetting the CO2 emissions and 2000 trees on the old golf course site are desirable, which should be considered as an expansion to Reedswood Park as part of the Ash Track corridor and left alone.
In the 70’s there were a number of tip operations ongoing in the Reedswood area and ground gas may be a problem on these sites, particularly around Pouk Hill. There is a proposal to include land here and to the rear of Bentley Lane, which could disturb pockets of gas, which may blight local residents. Also, trees in this area provide natural sound screening from the M6.
Odell Rd Playing Fields
In recent years we have seen flooding on Beechdale when there has been very heavy rain. This occurred on Edison Walk, Cavendish Rd (Beechdale) and Birchover Rd (Reedswood). On inspection by Walsall MBC the gulley system on the road surfaces were clear. Severn-Trent have performed camera surveys of the drainage system and have declared their system clear. The surface water outfall runs into a canal arm off Bentley Lane and opposite the Alma PH, this belongs to the Canals and Rivers Trust. I do not know what their findings are, but, understand that there is legal discussion on the issue.
Any development in my mind then must consider that the surface water drainage for Beechdale, Leamore Lane industrial estate, Bentley Lane, Birchover Road and surrounding, Pouk Hill, Ragstone Close et al, link to this system. I believe then that it must be a question to ask, “Can any development in Reedswood or Beechdale sustainably be made, if the new development taps into a drainage system that may already be at capacity?”
Birchills-Leamore: Neighbouring considerations
There are many links between communities that straddle the borders of wards and shared facilities of the same. There has also been developments in these wards which would utilise facilities in Birchills-Leamore.
Pleck Ward: A sizeable development at the Harvestime bakery site (brownfield land) will utilise facilities such as school places, GP’s and Reedswood Park.
Blakenall Ward: There is a considerable amount of housing development on Brownfield land in the Goscote corridor, which will potentially have a particular impact on primary school places in the Leamore area, which will have a ripple effect on areas like Beechdale. I also cite GP practice demand.
Baring in mind the above, amenity space will be of prime importance.
Birchills-Leamore has been very successful in terms of utilising brown land for mixed use regeneration to provide housing, industrial use and amenity space. This development is in “balance”. The is room for more development if the recommendations of the PRG or taken on board, a corridor along Green Lane from the old police station site, up past Metal Casements, past the open land by green lane and the old Metafin site could be utilised to provide quality homes without utilising green belt and open land used for amenity space elsewhere in the ward.
It is my assertion then, that there needs to be a balance. The current amenity and park spaces should be kept and the old golf course should become part of the “Ash Track Green Link” which provides a cycle route and amenity space, where residents can repair mental and physical health and where biodiversity can flourish.
Birchills-Leamore has always risen to the regeneration challenge, it must not become an open season for regeneration and its residents must be given the respect they deserve. Birchills-Leamore must have balance. I expect the Black Country plan to reflect this balance.
Draft Black Country Plan
Representation ID: 23250
Respondent: Mr Dale James-Atkins
Number of people: 2
We completely oppose the requirement to use green belt land in Streetly in your Black Country Plan.
Draft Black Country Plan
Representation ID: 23260
Respondent: Mr Daren Naven
I am objecting to the houses being built in the Streetly area. The affect this will have on our local area is immense. I live just down the road on the same side of the dual carriageway A4041. This is a beautiful area with the Barr Beacon overlooking the area nominated for development. The traffic already is too much for this area as this is the main road to the motorway. The amount of extra traffic and the pollution this will cause to peoples health, let alone disruption is a nightmare. Where are the school places for extra children going to come from, people can't get their first choice now, let alone second one. As this is green belt I am enraged what they are going to do to the lovely wildlife this area has. People love to go walking round this area and now you want to take this away, there aren't many places now that have such beauty. Lets say 960 houses with at least a family of three at least! These numbers are going to push an extra 30,000 people (plus) onto an area that just can't sustain them. This has to be a no-go from the start, a stunning beautiful area being destroyed by greed. This is not about houses needed, its about money in the pocket. Old factory sites need using up.
Draft Black Country Plan
Representation ID: 45837
Respondent: Mr & Mrs David Roberts
Number of people: 2
10.2 The plan states, (7,926) of these new homes will be provided in the urban area on brownfield sites,
yet the development on 'Green Belt' contravenes National Planning Policy, given the number of
other brownfield sites that have not been included as suitable alternatives.
10.3 The first call on housing should be on brownfield sites. This is not just about protecting the Green
Belt - it is about promoting regeneration on derelict and neglected urban sites in the Black Country
- and millions of pounds in Government funding has been won, to do just that. As it stands,
Walsall's housing allocation can be met for the next 5 years without any building on our Green Belt.
11.0 Alternate and more suitable Brownfield site priority options for development (to name
but a few):
a) Oak Park/ KFC site (old Oak Park Leisure centre car park site on the Lichfield Road}
b) The Brown Jug public house site, Willenhall
c) The Old Bush public house, Pelsall
d) The Rising Sun, Brownhills West
e) Walsall Saddlers Centre
f) Whittimere StreeUlntown Row, Walsall: Ruinous site and unoccupied buildings
g) FORMER DALE STREET FAMILY CENTRE, DALE STREET, WALSALL, WS1 4AH: Vacant
h) MOAT STREET, WILLENHALL, WV13 1SZ: Fire damaged dangerous building
i) TRAVELLERS REST, 35, GREAT BRIDGE ROAD, BILSTON, WV14 8LG: vacant site
j) FORMER PACKAGING R US, RESERVOIR PLACE, WALSALL: vacant site
k) OLD BUSH INN, WALSALL ROAD, PELSALL, WALSALL, WS3 4BP: dangerous fire damaged
I) BROWN JUG, SANDBEDS ROAD, WILLENHALL, WV12 4EY: vacant, dangerous building
m) The Eagle, Cresswell Crescent, Mossley: Vacant Building