Traffic congestion fears over giant £200m Lion Farm designer outlet village near M5
Angry residents voiced their concerns over controversial plans for a new designer outlet village in the Black Country – as details of the multi-million-pound scheme were revealed at a public consultation.
The development for Lion Farm Playing Fields, in Oldbury, will feature around 90 designer shops alongside restaurants and sports facilities.
A planning application from developer Jeremy Knight-Adam is expected in the Spring.
But concerned residents believe the area will suffer a traffic nightmare – adding to the existing congestion.
“This project is a disaster waiting to happen, I think Sandwell Council should stop it going ahead completely,” said Dawn Randle, aged 63, from Ascot Close in Oldbury.
Ms Randle who was speaking at the public consultation yesterday at the Portway Lifestyle Centre in Oldbury, added: “They are putting the village in the wrong area. Oldbury will die.”
Developers want to build the village on existing green space, which is used by football teams, dog walkers and the surrounding community.
The potential loss of this green space is also a sticking point for residents. They believe pollution around their homes will get worse as a result.
“I’m against the project because of pollution and loss of green space - Sandwell already suffers from obesity issues,” said Cliff Haycock, 55, from Newbury Lane in Oldbury.
“The congestion and the traffic is already a problem and now we will have to contend with this. I think the area will become gridlocked, it will be a traffic nightmare.”
The project has also prompted a protest group to be created called The Friends of Lion Farm Playing Fields group, who have campaigned against the plans since they were revealed in November 2017.
But despite the objections from residents, developers believe the project will bring benefits to Sandwell.
More than 2,000 jobs would be created and the village could bring in £200million of investment.
Two new football pitches would be built as part of the development to compensate for the lost football pitches. And Sandwell Council would look at establishing football pitches elsewhere in the borough for the other lost pitches.
At the consultation, developers revealed the designer village will have around 90 outlet shops and a range of cafes and restaurants; two 3G sports pitches; a cinema; hotel; gym; tourist information centre; a multi-use community hub; and walking trails around the site.
The site will also have a car park with 2,425 spaces. Plans for virtual paragliding and crazy golf in the leisure section of the village were also revealed yesterday.
The development will increase visitors to the area. But planners behind the project say extensive surveys will be carried out into how existing traffic problems can be resolved.
Part of the traffic problems is parking around the playing fields, which clogs up the roads for residents.
Lee Smith, a transport consultant, said: “As part of the process of the transport assessment, parking will be considered as part of the scheme.
“At this moment, we can’t say we will do double yellow lines or parking permits or anything like that (as the project is in the early stages).
“The transport assessment is looking into the traffic problems (that are currently happening) and assessing all the junctions around the site and they will be having discussions with Highways England. It will aim to address any congestion problems as much as possible.”
There will be two public consultations over the planned village. This is the first one which will run until the start of the new years.
A spokesman for Jeremy Knight-Adams said: “This project is in the very early stages. Once this consultation closes on January 11, we will review what people have said and look at the plans and see if anything significant has been raised.”