9th Dec, 2016

Petition to protect Coventry's Greenbelt launched

Coventry Editorial 10th Feb, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A PETITION has been launched against Coventry City Council’s plans to build homes on the Green Belt.

The online petition, which has garnered more than 430 signatures, rejects proposals to build 25,000 homes in Eastern Green and Keresley, including on Green Belt land.

The plans are part of Coventry City Council’s long-awaited draft Local Plan document, which lays out proposed areas for development across city until 2031.

In a full Council meeting last month, Councillor Kevin Maton said the plans were in line with forecasts for Coventry’s rapid population growth and fit with the Council’s ambitions to become a ‘top ten city’.

But campaigners argue this does not justify plans to develop 10 per cent of the city’s existing Green Belt.

One of the petition organisers, Walter Milner, said the petition was just one of many set up by groups which oppose the local plan.

He added: “Not only are we unhappy with plans to build on the Greenbelt, but the key issue is the sheer number of houses.

“With 18,000 more homes planned for areas on the otherside of the Coventry border, we’re concerned that the city will continue to sprawl outwards.

“The Green Belt was set up to prevent urban sprawl, maintain the individual identities of different towns and cities, and to preserve the countryside.

“Our precious Meriden Gap is being squeezed and we’re looking at a future where it may not exist anymore.”

Supporters of the petition echoed Mr Milners calls.

Mark G said: “Building on the Meriden gap and in the very near vicinity of Corley rocks two of the beautiful spaces in Coventry is just wrong. Soon we won’t be competing with Birmingham as a city in our own right we’ll be a suburb.”

Lisa C added: “With HS2 soon set to cut through the the countryside near Coventry too, the city is losing any green areas it has.”

Mr Milner said the city needed affordable housing, but argued the developments in Eastern Green and Keresley were likely to be large three or four bedroom houses that many would be unable to afford.

He said Coventry’s numerous Brownfield sites should be considered before Green Belt land.

Mr Milner added: “We need to be progressive and see the Green Belt returned to its original use – as agricultural land.

“At the moment we have a crazy situation where we’re importing milk from Poland, when if we used the Green Belt productively it wouldn’t be able to be eyed up by developers.

“The local plan is still out for consultation until the end of the month, so we hope our petition goes some way to making the Council see that the plans need to be altered.”

The petition can be found online at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/no-to-building-on-green-belt-land-in-coventry