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Hundreds of people table Seven Cornfields objections to Wolverhampton Council

By Jamie Brassington | Wolverhampton | Property | Published:

Four hundred responses have been handed into Wolverhampton Council which overwhelmingly object to building on the Seven Cornfields.

Council leader Ian Brookfield objecting to the Seven Cornfields proposal, with Paul Birch, Pat McFadden and Goldthorn Estate resident Kath Smith

The survey, which was collated by parliamentary candidate Pat McFadden, was handed in to the city's council leader Ian Brookfield at the Civic Centre.

The responses will be used to help shape the council's future policy on building homes within the borough.

Proposals have been drawn up to build 1,300 homes on the 284-acre greenbelt site, which borders Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire.

However two thirds of the land lies in South Staffordshire District Council, and South Staffs has left the Seven Cornfields out of its housing review for the future.

That means Wolverhampton will likely be the only part of the site where any possible development could happen.

'Preserve our green belt'

But Mr McFadden - Labour's parliamentary candidate for Wolverhampton South East, who is fighting to defend his seat in the December 12 election - hopes these responses will play a large part in stopping any development happening altogether.

"That's what residents want, that's what I want," he said.

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"We don't want to see the Seven Cornfields built on.

We want to see that green belt preserved as green open space. Of course the city needs housing but there are many brownfield sites that need priority.

WOLVERHAMPTON PIC MNA PIC DAVID HAMILTON PIC EXPRESS AND STAR 26/9/2019 Land that may be developed, part of the Seven Cornfields, Penn..

"The large volume of surveys returned shows the strength of residents' opposition to any suggestion of house building on the Seven Cornfields.

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"Since these proposals came to light, I have made clear my complete opposition to building houses on this land.

"We have many brownfield sites in Wolverhampton and across the Black Country and these should be the priority for house building.

"The community should not have to choose between the housing we need and the green spaces that we love."

The map of the proposed Seven Cornfields development

The surveys have been filled out by residents living in the Goldthorn Estate, in the Blakenhall council ward, and the Ettingshall Park Farm estate, in the Springvale council ward.

Accepting the surveys, Councillor Brookfield was limited what he could say, as he could risk exposing the council to future legal action if he were to pick a side.

But he confirmed the surveys will be looked at and they will help shape the council's response to a need for housebuilding in the future.

The council, alongside other authorities in the country, has been asked by the government to undertake a "Call For Sites" survey, which identifies where new housing could be built, to meet the country's growing population.

Land-owners in Wolverhampton were invited to put forward their land for possible development, working alongside housing developers.

Between now and September, the council will decide whether the Seven Cornfields site will form part of a review called the Black Country Plan, which will be published around September.

WOLVERHAMPTON NEWS EXPRESS & STAR ( JOHN SAMBROOKS 14/09/2019..Looking towards Seven Cornfields, Penn Common, the site of a proposed housing development............................................................................................................................................................................................... .............................

The Black Country Plan will be a combination of Call For Sites across the Black Country, which councils will say are pieces of land suitable for development.

The public consultation would run until a least 2023 or 2024, said councillor Brookfield.

The Seven Cornfields site first became public knowledge in September after a resident raised the matter to Blakenhall councillor Paul Birch, who then held a surgery to address the matter.

But the Black Country Plan, formerly known as the Black Country Core Strategy, began in the summer of 2017.

Around 80 people attended councillor Birch's surgery - which showed the immediate opposition to the plans - and lead to him dubbing the meeting a "super surgery".

Since then, a campaign against the plans has grown, with opposition coming from thousands of residents and public figures. The campaign has even gone as far as Boris Johnson in No 10 Downing Street.

Jamie Brassington

By Jamie Brassington
Senior Multi-Media Journalist - @JamieB_Star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star. Contact me at jamie.brassington@expressandstar.co.uk.

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