BUSINESS Secretary Sajid Javid has hit out over plans from Redditch Borough Council to build 2,800 new homes up to the village of Bentley in Bromsgrove district.
The scheme forms part of a larger proposal which includes 600 new homes at Webheath off Foxlydiate Lane, but the MP says Redditch should look to build on its own land first before sending the bulldozers into Bromsgrove’s Green Belt.
Planning inspector Simon Hetherington is holding a public examination into Redditch’s Local Plan 4, which contains the housing proposal, at the borough’s town hall tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday (March 24).
In a letter to Mr Hetherington, which arrived the day before the cut off for submissions, Mr Javid says: “In terms of infrastructure, such large scale development in Foxlydiate would be inefficient for those living and commuting into Redditch…….
“…..I also wish to re-emphasise my concern that land within Redditch Borough is fully utilised before any consideration is given to expanding the area’s housing need into Bromsgrove Green Belt as a neighbouring district.”
He’s been joined in his protest by Redditch’s MP Karen Lumley who has long called for the homes to be built at Bordesley as it is closer to Redditch town centre and the expected employment area of the Eastern Gateway off the A435.
Speaking to the Bromsgrove Standard she said: “The infrastructure is there already at Bordesley and it would be a far better site for these new homes. How on earth is the infrastructure at Webheath going to cope if these plans go ahead?
“The planners in this town and all around have got to get a grip on putting the infrastructure in first before they start building homes.”
Malcolm Glaister chairman of the campaign group the Bentley Area Action Group added: “The MPs from Redditch and Bromsgrove both oppose Redditch planners’ proposals for expansion at Foxlydiate. They are singing from the same hymn sheet.
“The inspector has to work independently and to guidelines but at the same time he must be mindful of the opinions of the local MP and that of a member of the Cabinet, and the Business Secretary at that.”