SANDWELL: Maps show golf course redevelopment
Copyright Rhi Storer.
Four maps giving different options to carve up a much-loved green space in Sandwell have been unveiled.
Sandwell Council launched a public consultation on November 1 detailing the its future plans for the former Brandhall Golf Course in Oldbury.
The golf course – an 18-hole facility run by Sandwell Council – closed in May 2020 with the authority saying it was costing taxpayers £275,000 per year to subsidise.
The authority said Brandhall Village will house 550 homes, a large new public park, space for a new replacement for Causeway Green Primary School, pedestrian and cycle links and new wildlife areas.
But the proposals have sparked a storm of protest from residents who argue the “beautiful” green space should be retained as a space for wildlife.
Brandhall Green Space Action Group, made up of residents from Old Warley, Langley, and Bristnall council wards, has been campaigning to keep the land for local people to use and to stop urban development on the land.
Resident and group member Stephen Peugh said: “I only discovered this green space during lockdown, and I didn’t really know about it until it closed. It has really helped me keep going during those difficult times.
“This place is beautiful and I am surprised Sandwell council want to redevelop over it. If they do, then our nearest green space will be a good few miles away, meaning there will be residents here who will find it difficult to enjoy their local parks or nature reserves.”
Conservative councillor Jay Anandou, who created the action group, said: “This golf course has 37 hectares of pristine green space, and is home for a bat habitat, fresh water shrimps, newts, more than 30 varieties of birds, badgers, and the very source of the River Tame.
“The local residents are against any development in that greenery which goes against every promise the council has made on promoting wildlife and tackling climate change.”
Sandwell Council said 8.5 hectares of open space will be kept for residents – the equivalent of 14 football pitches.
It said other benefits of the village include replacing the crumbling school building, promoting active travel and delivering much needed new homes.
Councillor Iqbal Padda said: “We are at the early stages of developing the masterplan and the purpose of this consultation is to share our ambitions, draft vision and masterplan options.
“No decisions have been taken. We are offering the local community an opportunity to influence key aspects of the masterplan, including how the new Brandhall Village could look and the kinds of open space and any community facilities provided within it.
“We understand that this is a very important site for the local community. Our key priority is to make sure the masterplan responds positively to concerns, priorities and aspirations for the site.
“We believe that the development of Brandhall Village has the potential to bring significant benefits to local people.
“It provides an opportunity to not only build much-needed homes, but also to create a brand new public park, and local facilities, including a new replacement primary school.
“The park and facilities would be available to the existing community as well as residents of Brandhall Village.
“We are really keen to hear residents’ views. By working closely with the local community, we can set a clear vision for the site.”
The consultation will run until November 28 and people can take part by accessing www.sandwell.gov.uk/brandhall.
There will also be a face to face consultation at Brandhall Library, Tame Road, Oldbury on Tuesday 16 November, between 12pm and 3:30pm and another session between 4:30pm and 8:00pm for people to question the project team.
Consultation material will also be available at Brandhall Library throughout the consultation period.
Words: Gurdip Thandi, Local Democracy Reporter
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