Furious councillors and community groups have reacted with anger as details of when the public will have their say on the first stage of building on Sutton Coldfield’s green belt land have finally been confirmed.
The date of September 10 has now been set as the start of the consultation period on detailed plans to build homes on land in Langley and an industrial park in Peddimore – close to Walmley and Minworth respectively – but it comes more than a year after that consultation was first due to take place.
The date was revealed to members of the Walmley and Minworth councillor-led consultative group last week but members of the group are disappointed that there will be yet more delays – now due to the upcoming summer holiday period.
It is the latest setback on the hugely controversial project to build around 5,500 homes, schools, and ancillary facilities as part of the Birmingham Development Plan 2031.
Councillors said only last week Birmingham City Council had been indicating that the consultation period would start this month.
Chairman of the consultative group, Cllr Ken Wood (Walmley and Minworth, Cons.) said: “This latest announcement makes Birmingham City look extremely bad, we’ve been very patient with delay after delay with no real reason except its with senior management.
“Our residents think Birmingham cannot be trusted and that the latest date is just another plucked out of thin air.”
Group members were also dismayed that despite promises it has become clear that there are still no firm proposals on transport link and infrastructure improvements, despite the need for all these being highlighted in the consultation for the original Birmingham plan.
Time is running out, with planning applications from developers anticipated in early 2019. The earliest adoption date would be January that year, leaving Birmingham City Council with very little room for manoeuvre.
Meanwhile Cllrs Wood and fellow Walmley and Minworth representative, Cllr David Barrie (Cons.) said they are arranging for the group to meet the developers for both Langley and Peddimore.
Cllr Barrie said: “Even if the city council cannot tell us their plans, we cannot miss the opportunity of influencing others.’
While Cllr Wood added: “We will be pressing for senior officers to meet its obligations to the Royal Town. Along with group members we are extremely frustrated that despite making every effort to engage with planners, and numerous broken promises we still haven’t got their full proposals.”
With the September date now set – it has also been confirmed that the consultation period will last for six weeks. And it is hoped will mark the first public look at the city council’s supplementary development plans for the Langley and Peddimore sites.
A spokeswoman for Birmingham City Council said: "Langley and Peddimore are key allocations in the Birmingham Development Plan.
"Langley Sustainable Urban Extension will provide for a mix of 6,000 homes and a range of supporting facilities including new primary schools, a secondary school, health facilities, local shops and services, green infrastructure and new and improved public transport connections.
"Peddimore will deliver a 71ha employment site to meet the shortfall in best quality employment land within a high quality landscaped setting.
"It is therefore critical that the documents guiding the development of these large complex sites are sound, comprehensive and fit for purpose.
"The documents have been prepared and are ready for consultation in September so as to avoid the summer holiday period and in order to maximise the effectiveness of the consultation."