GREENBELT land in Solihull – including the Meriden gap – has been marked for ‘future development’ in the latest government housing report.
Meriden’s MP has expressed concern that the ‘Meriden gap’ has been suggested as an area for possible housing.
Solihull councillors have suggested a ‘clear tension’ between the report and residents’ concern for protecting the green belt.
The Greater Birmingham Housing Market Area (HMA) report identifies areas that could fulfil housing demand where it is sustainable.
Dame Caroline Spelman, MP for Meriden, said: “I am deeply concerned the report has provisionally identified the Meriden gap as an area for future developments; including a proposal for another new settlement.
“While this proposal is only a draft, I will do all that I can to ensure that local voices are heard, and secure protection of our valuable green belt.
“Already Solihull is playing its part in helping meet the housing shortfall across the wider region.
“Getting the right balance of quality, affordable housing across the West Midlands is critical to sustaining the regional economic growth we have enjoyed in recent years.
“I have always been clear that it must be brownfield first, and I will be actively encouraging the authorities to listen closely to the concerns of local residents.”
Councillor Ian Courts, Solihull Council’s deputy leader and growth spokesman, said: “There is a clear tension between the study suggesting that areas in Solihull may be suitable for consideration for new development, while also recognising the significant role the green belt in Solihull is already playing in the region.
“The study recommends further work is done to investigate the possibility of new settlements and urban extensions at locations across the HMA.
“We will incorporate our response to the report into the next draft version of the Solihull Local Plan, which is due to be published later this year.”
The draft Local Plan for housing development over the next two decades is partly a response to a local and national shortage of housing. It includes 20 site allocations, 12 of which are situated in the greenbelt.