NWGC SALE: Golf course purchased by developers for housing
A housing developer’s purchase of a golf course – planned to house 800 homes – has been described as “sad to see” by opponents of the scheme.
Bloor Homes has now bought North Worcestershire Golf Club (NWGC) and is a step closer to fulfilling its plans to build homes on the site in Northfield.
The developer was awarded outline planning permission following a public inquiry despite Birmingham City Council’s initial rejection.
A consultation into reserved matters details was held in the autumn and a detailed application for the first phase of the development is due to go to the city council’s planning committee next month.
Bloor Homes has now purchased the land from the golf club, having begun clearing the 83-acre site in preparation at the start of last year.
Cllr Olly Armstrong (Lab, Northfield), who has opposed the plans, said: “It is sad to see this going ahead. The destruction of a huge and beautiful green space is never a good thing.
“It seems hypocritical that while the Tory Government are pretending to care about the climate, they overruled Birmingham City Council and local residents’ wishes in letting Bloor bulldoze here.
“We have an MP who claims to care about the environment yet has not batted an eyelid at land, trees and soil that, once gone, we can’t get back.
“The promise of brownfield first from our Tory MP and Tory mayor is proved hollow here.”
At one point during the start of lockdown last year, residents asked Bloor for permission to use the site for exercise but were turned down by the developer.
Birmingham Northfield MP Gary Sambrook (Con) said: “I know for many people this will be a sad day – it signifies the end of a very long campaign by many local residents to stop the development.
“Sadly, the outline planning was granted before my time as the Member of Parliament and all legal ways of stopping it had been exhausted by the time I was elected. The decision could have been appealed by the council, but it was not.
“It’s important that local people do still take part in the planning process to shape the development so that it’s in character and fitting of our area.
“That’s why I have been doing what I can to make sure those around the golf course are aware of the planning applications and how to make comments”.
The new site is intended to include a new urban park of 35 acres for use by both new residents and those living in the surrounding area.
A spokesperson for Bloor said: “Bloor Homes is delighted to have acquired the former North Worcestershire Golf Club site.
“We have submitted details for the first phase of 170 new homes, which we look forward to being considered by the city council planning committee in May.”
Roger Adams, NWGC chair, said: “This has been a long and difficult project but we are delighted to have agreed a sale to Bloor Homes, who have worked hard with us over many years.
“It will be good to return to the site in years to come and see that it is being beneficially used by local families.”
Andy Lamb of Harris Lamb, property consultants acting on behalf of the club, said: “Working collaboratively with Bloor Homes and NWGC, we were able to bring forward this site for residential redevelopment.
“Without this approach, the site would still be fenced off and derelict. When we first agreed to promote this site on behalf of the Club and Bloor, we were hopeful that by this point we would have had finished houses for people to move into.
“There is a shortage of family housing in Birmingham. The development of city centre apartments is all well and good but does not meet the needs of families.
“The local community will benefit from a new green space to be enjoyed by all, while local families in Birmingham can buy a quality home in an excellent location for local transport and amenities.”
Words: Mark Cardwell, Local Democracy Reporter
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