On 21 July 2016 Valerie Vaz MP raised Great Barr Park and Hall planning application at the Summer Adjournment Debate in the House of Commons.

Valerie Vaz MP said:

“The planning application on Green Belt land should either be refused or withdrawn. The application submitted is for the construction of 57 houses on green-belt land and the redevelopment of Great Barr Hall as a hotel, wedding and conference venue goes against both local and national policy.”

“Former Planning Minister, Brandon Lewis MP, wrote to Members on 7 July 2016, stating that the Government had put in place the strongest protections for the green belt, and that the green-belt boundary should be adjusted only in exceptional circumstances through the local plan process, and with the support of local people.”

“The proposals submitted to Walsall MBC do not set out any special circumstances to outweigh the immense damage this development would do to the Green Belt and disruption it will cause to local residents. There are plenty of identical sites to Great Barr in Walsall which do not have planning applications.”

“This application is particularly concerning because there is no identified need for building on Green Belt land. Walsall MBC said in 2011 that ‘there is plenty of capacity for house building not just for the next 5 years but until 2026’.”

“I was surprised that the Leader of Walsall MBC, who has been given the portfolio for housing and land for the West Midlands Combined Authority, recently said that he has not ruled out the use of Green Belt land or brownfield sites. The Leader’s comment goes against settled local and national policy.”

“It is clear that the majority of people do not agree with the use of Green Belt land. On the 60th anniversary of Green Belt becoming government policy, a 2015 poll commissioned by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), found that 64% of those surveyed, two-thirds of people, believe that Green Belt land should be protected, not built on. Despite this, CPRE says that the number of houses planned for the Green Belt stands at 275,000, an increase of 25% on the previous year.”

“Residents need clarity on Walsall MBC’s approach to development on the Green Belt, and certainty about this planning application.”

“I have written to the Chief Executive of Walsall MBC to call for the refusal or withdrawal of the Great Barr planning application.”