WALSALL: “Scrapyard” farm site to be redeveloped
PIC: Walsall Council;
A fly-tipping plagued farm in Bloxwich which is still classed as Green Belt land looks set to be redeveloped into chalet bungalows.
Walsall Council leader and planning committee chairman Mike Bird said Pear Tree Farm, in Fishley Lane, had become nothing more than a ‘scrapyard’ and the new homes would enhance the area.
Officers had recommended refusing the proposal to demolish an unused cottage and stables and replace them with the four bedroomed homes.
They said the proposal it be inappropriate for the Green Belt, in an unsustainable location with narrow unsafe access for pedestrians, cyclists or refuse collection.
But the application was ‘called in’ by deputy leader Adrian Andrew who said it would be a “re-use of a previously developed site to protect other untouched Green Belt land which is under threat.”
His views were echoed by Councillor Bird and the rest of the committee, which voted to approve the scheme put forward by Design Construction Management Services Ltd.
He said: “I’m at odds with the officers. It looks like a scrapyard. It is in a rural location but would you rather have six quality dwellings or would you rather have that?
“Waste management are saying they wouldn’t want to send a 20 tonne vehicle down there and they’d have to use something like a transit van.
“But the fly-tippers don’t seem to have a problem down there. They go up and down there with regularity.
“I felt the same as Councillor Andrew about this. This was a previously developed site, we’ve got pressure on pure Green Belt and I just think getting rid of those redundant buildings and vehicles it would be a far better thing to see with six quality dwellings on there.”
Bloxwich councillor Mark Statham added: “It’s never really been agricultural, it’s a former pacing and trotting track. Horses were stabled there.
“It was a self-contained and the family that owned it had a cottage built. All these outbuildings were effectively stables.”
As the land is classed as Green Belt, the decision to grant permission will be referred to the secretary of state.
Reasons for approval are it would be an enhancement to the area, rid the land of redundant buildings and a proliferation of abandoned vehicles, skips and other metals and provide homes to ease pressure on the pure Green Belt land currently being considered for development under the Black Country Plan.
Words: Gurdip Thandi, Local Democracy Reporter
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