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Campaigner challenges Mayor to see through green belt pledge

By Richard Guttridge | Wolverhampton | News | Published:

A campaigner trying to prevent a controversial housing development says Mayor Andy Street has a "big job on his hands" if he is to deliver on his pledge to protect the green belt.

Mr Street announced his 'Green Belt Pledge' last week and says all new housing needed by 2031 should be built on previously developed sites.

Paul Birch, a Labour councillor in Wolverhampton who is helping lead the fight against plans to build 1,300 homes on 240 acres at Seven Cornfields between Wolverhampton and Dudley, said he welcomed the Mayor's pledge but hoped that it is not merely the promise of a politician "when he wants to be elected". The Tory Mayor is standing for re-election in May. He has insisted his plan to protect the green belt is realistic.

Councillor Birch, who represents Blakenhall, said: "I do welcome it. All politicians give pledges and it's all very well making promises but what the public want to see is people delivering on those promises.

"Increasingly people worry about politicians and that they don't live the same life they live.

"If Andy Street is serious about protecting the green belt he has got a very big job on his hands."

Councillor Birch said he believed some people living in areas at risk of losing green belt would be sceptical of Mr Street's claims.

He said: "On the one hand the Government is saying to us it is going to have to build on the green belt then Andy Street is saying no-one will build on the green belt. Is this just another politician's promise when he wants to be elected?

"I would call on Andy Street to think about the promise he is making and ask himself if he is sincere."

The Mayor admitted last week seeing through his vision would be an "incredible stretch" but that delivering a housing scheme for the former sewage works at Friar Park, Wednesbury, showed it was possible to transform brownfield sites in the region.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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