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North Worcestershire Golf Club site not earmarked for housing says council planning boss

But developer argues 1,000 homes on Longbridge site will help meet city's massive housing shortage

North Worcestershire Golf Club
Bloor Homes may have hit another brick wall in its bid to redevelop North Worcestershire Golf Club

A scheme to build up to 1,000 homes on a city golf course could be scuppered as the council has not earmarked the site for housing in its new development plan.

Bloor Homes wants to redevelop the North Worcestershire Golf Club site, in Longbridge , but has been met with opposition from local residents who fear the new families will place a huge strain on roads and public services .

But now the council’s planning director has confirmed the site has not even been designated for housing in the Birmingham Development Plan, currently being assessed by a government inspector.

If the plan is confirmed, it means the developer would need to make a very strong case to gain permission to build on the open space.

Bloor Homes
Housing plan for the North Worcestershire Golf Club site in Longbridge

Birmingham City Council's director of planning and regeneration Waheed Nazir said: “Development on open space is contrary to national and local planning policies and this is not a site being promoted as necessary to meet our housing need.”

He said Bloor Homes had made formal objections to the Birmingham Development Plan and put forward its case to the Government inspector.

“We expect to receive the inspector’s final report and recommendations within the next few weeks,” he added.

“Based upon his earlier comments and recommended changes, which did not require a reference to the NWGC site to be added, it is unlikely the inspector will release this site for development.”

Mr Nazir stressed any planning application would be heard on its merits and how it applied to national and local planning policy.

“The onus would clearly be on the developer to show how their proposals adhere to these policies,” he added.

Comment: It's not the planning, it's the building of houses that's the problem in Birmingham

But Bloor Homes has argued the demand for 80,000 homes in Birmingham , and the fact sites have been identified in the city for only about 50,000 homes, including 6,000 on the green belt near Sutton Coldfield, mean the council will have to take its proposal seriously.

The company’s land director Duncan Mackay said: “North Worcestershire Golf Club is due to close in April 2016.

“The site is not in the green belt, has no other designation in the Birmingham Local Plan and development of the site would provide homes in a highly highly sustainable location.

“Birmingham has a significant housing shortage and the development would make a substantial contribution towards meeting this housing need, potentially reducing the pressure for green belt land being released on the fringes of the city.”

Following a public exhibition of its plans for the golf club site, the company announced last week it would fund improvements to the local road network to offset the impact of new residents .

But Coun Ian Cruise (Ind Longbridge) tweeted: “They can pledge all they like. It’s the policy of the council to reject any application.”

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