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Longbridge housing developer won't take no for an answer

After a series of rejections Bloor Homes returns with updated plans for the North Worcestershire Golf Club site

Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

A housing developer has unveiled its latest plans to build on a former Birmingham golf club just weeks after withdrawing its last application.

Bloor Homes is seeking permission to redevelop North Worcestershire Golf Club near Longbridge but has been battling against local residents and councillors who fear its proposals are too large.

In March, Bloor Homes' previous version of the plans to build up to 1,000 homes were withdrawn ahead of a Birmingham City Council planning committee meeting which was expected to reject the application.

It has now lodged an updated version of the proposals to demolish the old club house and build up to 950 houses, public space, a primary school, multi-use community hub and new access points.

In addition to the reduction in the number of houses, Bloor Homes is also planning to increase the amount of green space from 24 to 27 acres while a central parkland surrounding a brook will be widened from 10 metres to 30 metres.

The golf club closed down in March last year and the 80-acre site is seen as a prime spot for redevelopment, particularly as residential because of Birmingham’s need to address its housing crisis.

North Worcestershire Golf Club

But opponents of the scheme have continually said the estate would have a massive impact on traffic in an area already heavily congested due to its proximity to the A38, one of Birmingham’s main routes in and out of the city centre.

There have also been concerns raised over the loss of recreational space of this size.

Supporters of the project say it will address a dire need for new homes in the area and the golf course will otherwise become a target for anti-social behaviour.

A report prepared for this latest application said: “Bloor Homes has taken on board the comments made by the public, stakeholders and members of Birmingham City Council and will continue the discussion about the delivery of community benefits as the application progresses.”

The board of the North Worcestershire Golf Club, which still owns the site, has hit back at criticism over the plans. Two weeks ago they were called on by local councillor Andy Cartwright to choose another development option such as a hotel or leisure complex.

A Golf club spokesman said: "The Golf course redevelopment masterplan has gone through a lot of change to the benefit of the local community.

"We hoped that, rather than only supporting the vociferous few, councillors would have taken a more active role in this process.

"The revised application includes a reduction in the amount of housing, a substantial increase in the amount of public open space, a multi-use community centre and importantly a new primary school which would be delivered by the developers.

"All of these much-needed local facilities can only be provided by the redevelopment of the site.

"The club had to pursue other options and we wholeheartedly believe that what is being proposed is right for the local area.

"Despite our best efforts and with sadness, we had to take the decision to close the club and yes the members who are shareholders may make some money eventually but only after significant debts are repaid.

"This wasn’t just about the money, it was what was best for the shareholders and what was right for the community."

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