THERE was victory for Shirley residents in their long-standing campaign to remove a treasured stretch of greenbelt from the council’s Local Plan for housing.
The most controversial site, Allocation 13, between Bills Lane and Tanworth Lane in Shirley, will now be left unspoiled.
But celebrations could be short lived, with a newly identified site threatening to overlap onto Allocation 13, a councillor claims.
That claim is denied by the council.
The South Solihull Community Group (SSCG) formed two years ago in response to the publication of the Draft Local Plan.
More than 2,000 residents have now signed a petition asking for the 600-house site to be removed from the Local Plan.
The Local Plan is a blueprint for which areas of the borough will be used for housing, employment and other uses up to 2028.
Solihull Council has been undertaking a Local Plan Review process, which will help set locations for almost 15,000 houses over the next 15 years.
It hopes the Local Plan will be adopted by summer next year.
The group aims to emphasise the importance of Allocation 13 to the local community, to dog walkers and people who walk, run or cycle on the green space.
It says the site is beneficial for public health and is important to many vulnerable residents who live next to it.
Chair of the SSCG Sylvia Gardiner said: “I’m really grateful that the council has listened to us.
“It’s been such a team effort by the whole community. We’re just all hoping that Site 26 isn’t a new threat and that residents will attend the meeting at Light Hall School. It’s really important that the whole community has its say on this.”
Shirley Green councillor Max McLoughlin said celebrations are mooted for now as site 26 is proposed for ‘the same location.’
He said: “Residents and I have fought so hard to protect this land for the community, so we’re really pleased to get this big victory.
“However, the new Site 26 is still a big concern. The development line looks like it still puts Allocation 13 at risk.
“We would need assurances that Allocation 13 is definitely safe for the future, not just till the secretary of state looks over these plans in the summer.”
Site 26 sits adjacent to Allocation 13 and is smaller with the number of dwellings decreasing from 600 to 400.
The council will need to allocate land to build a further 900 houses each year, a council officer’s report states – several hundred more than it has managed over the last 10 years.
A council spokesperson said: “Site 26 does not overlap the previously identified site 13 which is no longer part of the Draft Local Plan.”
The meeting at Light Hall School, Hathaway Road, Shirley, is on Thursday, January 31 at 7pm.