Lion Farm shopping centre protestors target council elections
Campaigners opposed to a multi-million pound shopping development in Sandwell are deciding whether to go to the ballot box to win their fight.
Members of the Save Lion Farm Fields are considering nominating candidates in May’s local elections wards affected by the proposal to build a 200,000 sq ft development in Langley, close to Junction 2 of the M5.
The plan by Jeremy George Knight-Adams Plc would see a £200 million shopping centre on the site which the company says could lead to the creation of 2,000 jobs.
Members of the group have held a number of protests against the scheme, including picketing Sandwell Council house.
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In a posting on the group’s Facebook page chairman, Pete Durnell, has now suggested the campaign could stand candidates in three wards.
He said: “There is only one thing that Sandwell’s entirely Labour council is really afraid of, and that is losing councillors. Possibly because that would also represent some very poor publicity.
“Lion Farm Playing Fields are in Langley ward, but residents of Tividale and Rowley wards will probably be the worst affected by the increase in traffic and pollution that the proposed development will bring.
“There are elections coming up again in early May for these wards, I suggest it would really scare SMBC if we could put up ‘single issue’ candidates in all three wards, the single issue of course being Save Lion Farm Fields.”
Developers have said the plans will include a cinema, hotel, a range of community facilities, re-provision of existing pitches with high-quality replacements, a training and skills hub, a crèche and exhibition venue.
Last year the owner of the developing company, Jeremy Knight Adams, gave his own personal assurance that residents will be consulted about all future plans - after campaigners complained there were not being kept in the loop.
A formal planning application is expected to lodged with Sandwell council later this year.
By George Makin, Local Democracy Reporter