Valerie Vaz MP calls on Walsall Council to Reinstate the Scrutiny Committee Meeting

“My constituents are appalled that the Council Scrutiny Committee meeting to hear residents’ views about building on the Green Belt in the Black Country Plan has been postponed. I have written to Councillor John Murray, Chair of the Scrutiny Overview Committee, and the Chief Executive of Walsall Council, to ask that the Scrutiny Committee meeting on the 22 September is reinstated.

Walsall South residents want scrutiny of this important local issue and the chance to inform councillors and cabinet members of their views and expert advice before Regulation 18 is concluded and decided upon.

The Council’s response to me that the next version of the draft Plan will be available for the cabinet to make a decision at its 19 October meeting makes no sense to me or residents and entirely misses the point. In doing so, the cabinet will already have made a decision about the next stage – Regulation 19 – before any scrutiny of the current Regulation 18 takes place.

Furthermore, the review commissioned by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, concluded that there is a significant amount of available brownfield land left to build on.  Green Belt land can be protected and preserved in line with local and national policy.

The Conservative-controlled Walsall Council should stop hiding from residents, start listening, and reinstate the Scrutiny meeting for the 22 September.”