CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save Wyre Forest green belt land from being redeveloped for housing have been given fresh hope by new Government proposals

Whitehall held a consultation on its white paper ‘Planning for the Right Homes’ which contacts a raft of proposals including one which could see a reduction in the number of new homes needed per year from 300 to 246 over a 10 year period.

This has prompted campaign groups and politicians in the area to urge Wyre Forest District Council to adopt the revised figure in its Local Plan.

But council bosses stressed the paper was only a consultation and covered a smaller period than their 18-year Local Plan Review.

In a joint statement Councillor Shazu Miah and Alan Totty, chairman of the Offmore Comberton Local Plans Group, said the lesser figure means Wyre Forest would need 4,468 homes over 17 years – most of which could be accommodated on brownfield sites.

They said: “We urge Wyre Forest DC to agree to base its housing need on this revised figure.

“We believe that coupling this reduction with the development of a sustainable village of at least 1,000 properties on the Lea Castle site and sensitive development of sites adjacent could avoid a ribbon of development in the Green Belt to the east of Kidderminster.”

UKIP MEP James Carver said: “The council’s own Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment states the potential number of homes that could be built on existing developable sites is 4,543 – well within the revised total required.

“I urge the council to adopt the official figures which would negate the need to encroach on valued green belt bordering Spennells and Offmore and at the rear of Baldwin Road.

“There is fervent opposition to the Draft Local Plan, which went out to public consultation in the summer, because of the threat to Kidderminster’s green belt.”

Linda Walters, for Spennells Against Further Expansion, added: “We also hope that WFDC will now adjust their figures accordingly. It is quite apparent that it is not necessary to develop the fields adjacent to Spennells."

But Councillor Ian Hardiman, deputy leader of Wyre Forest District Council, said: “The Government has not revised its figures – it has been consulting on whether to change the methodology used to assess local housing need.

“We will not find out the outcome of the consultation until spring 2018.

“The figure of 246 would be the result of adopting the new way of assessing housing need – but it is important to bear in mind that this only covers a 10 year period.

“Our Local Plan Review is looking at housing needs over an 18 year period.

“We are still working through all responses from the extensive public consultation we carried out earlier this year.

“Once we have done that we can then consider our final selection of development sites. This will be subject to another round of public consultation next summer.”