The Essington Greenbelt is a valuable amenity for Wednesfield and the City as a whole. It allows people in our part of Wolverhampton to enjoy the countryside, enjoy and better understand farming, and what farming brings to our environment. It gives us great public walks and it allows us to see a ‘Big Horizon’.
Fab sun-rises, great sunsets over Linthouse lane, and a chance to see the stars right on the edge of our conurbation when the sun sets, and when darkness sweeps over our homes.
I first broke the fact that big developers were waiting to pounce on this land to build thousands of homes, back in 2018.
Things haven’t really changed since then. Your Three Wednesfield North Labour Councillors are still opposed to this plan. This week I wrote to City of Wolverhampton officials asking what contact had taken place with Conservative led South Staffordshire District Council with regards to these proposals. This is what City officials tell me.
“The position remains as it was in January. South Staffordshire Council have told us that they are progressing their Preferred Options report, which they are hoping to publish for consultation this summer. City of Wolverhampton Council have not taken any action regarding the South Staffordshire Plan since last autumn.”
Today I am again going to re publish what your three City of Wolverhampton Labour Councillors submitted to South Staffordshire District Council to oppose their plans.
We made our objections through the South Staffordshire process back in December 2019.
As we approach this City Council election here in two weeks time 6th May 2021. We have not changed our views.
If I am returned as your Wednesfield North City Councillor, I will again battle to defend this important Green Belt. I will remind you that I am experienced, and I am well placed to argue for the defeat of these plans. A vote for Labour, will be your chance to ensure that we can defeat these proposals. If You live in Wednesfield North you hold an important key. Please use your vote wisely.
Here is the Objection sent to South Staffordshire District Council in December 2019.
By Email 9 December 2019 Dear Sir/ Madam Objections – South Staffordshire District Council Local Plan Review. The three Wednesfield North City Councillors who sit on the City of Wolverhampton Council are opposed to the development of agricultural land in Essington, marked as ‘Land North of Linthouse Lane’ in the South Staffordshire District Council – Local Plan Review.
• We object against the Preferred Option G- and its proposals for thousands of homes aligned alongside City of WOLVERHAMPTON Boundary adjacent to the Wednesfield North Ward.
• We strongly object to this huge residential housing project which we believe will alter the area, and the amenity we share with Essington.
• We want to see the Brownfield sites identified, and developed first in our own conurbation, before the developers are able to press Local Authorities for valuable Greenfield Sites.
• We strongly Object to natural light, flora and fauna, animals and birds being disturbed by house building. Plus we object to losing this land as it is valuable amenity. The land lies adjacent to our own local Wednesfield boundary with Essington and Staffordshire.
• We also support Essington Action Group in their demand for evidence of the requirements regarding Brownfield sites outside the West Midlands conurbation to be examined again.
• We also feel that the Essington Action Group are correct in their submissions that the ‘Preferred Option G- chosen by South Staffordshire District Council ‘ has been written just for this land on the Wednesfield Boundary
– Councillors Phil Bateman MBE, Councillor Rita Potter, and Councillor Mary Bateman – All strongly object to the loss of this land – marked now by South Staffordshire District Council in the Parish of Essington, as Green Belt.
The residents of Wednesfield North which we as City Councillors represent, enjoy the current countryside, the animals, the birds, the Flora and Fauna of the Green Belt in Essington.
We in Wolverhampton see the current land as a delight and a much-used local amenity.
We enjoy seeing the land farmed agriculturally, as an amenity. All three of us enjoy the farming that takes place on the land inside the Essington Parish. We would be horrified to see its loss, as would the majority of our local residents. We love to see the crop rotation, the cattle from time to time. As does our residents. Whilst it is on the ‘other side’ of our Local Boundary, we see, as do our local Wednesfield inhabitants.
An agricultural sector that within our great City is indeed a rare occurrence now. So, the tasks that we see taking place from our borough boundary, are not to be scoffed at. They help to define the neighbourhood. They are of course educational to city folks, a great activity that was once practiced far more regularly inside Wolverhampton than is the fact today.
The history that is evident on the land, from the historic Monarchs Way, to the industrial history of the old Mineral Railway, are valuable to local Wednesfield residents.
The agricultural life is just feet away from urban and city living. Two very different activities that takes place just a few yards south of the Local Government boundary line within Essington and Staffordshire.
The history of the land as it once was used is important for everyone today. We would object strongly to the loss of availability to these important amenities. Wednesfield residents will not want to see the land lost to residential development of such huge proportions.
The land also has a huge historic interest to Wolverhampton and the Black Country. This land now being discussed for housing, once provided Wolverhampton and the Black Country with aviation history. History is an economic driver. We can harness that history into providing informed walks and generating amenity value with even greater benefits to Public Health and Wellbeing.
In Kitchen Lane there was regular landing and take offs of planes. In 1928 and 1929. Captain Summerfield of the Cornwall Aviation Company gave flights also from Blackhalve lane in Wednesfield. Amazingly as many as three thousand people took flights 1928. I am sure that neither Essington or Wednesfield people would want to see this aviation and such historical sites lost forever by the building of residential homes. Especially when we can develop an historic interest to go alongside the rural character that we already have here.
One such air-show came to Kitchen Lane on 30th July 1931. It was a very big air-show and putting on a big air-show you had to have a big back up team. They cleared the airstrip, checked with farmers, and the Ministry beforehand, then ran a motorcar over the airstrip at 60mph! These shows were very popular but they did require a very big organisation and the flights took place for around four years.
So, there you have it Ashmore Park has a history of aircraft landings and take offs In a City the size and complexity of the City of Wolverhampton, there is very few green spaces within our City boundaries, that give this sort of wonderful experience, we have that Essington and South Staffordshire has provided and still does provide.
The City of Wolverhampton is a City of 260,000 people. We form part of the West Midlands Conurbation. Living where we do there is nothing locally that allows the general enjoyment, we get from having the proximity of this land for our general amenity. If we lose it our residents will be impoverished forever
. It’s one of the few geographical places that City of Wolverhampton folk can see a ‘big unhindered sky’, watch the sun set, and then see the moon and the stars. There is little or no light pollution, so it is indeed a very rare site indeed.
We can watch Brown Hares, Foxes and Badgers hunt across the fields, and watch a Peregrine and Buzzard hunt the fields for their food. Its important we keep the Green Belt in this area as it is without doubt a huge benefit to our physical and mental health.
It is our view that our residents in Wednesfield North Ward which has a population of 11,019 of which 8% is BME. Should have the benefit of the Green Belt to help mitigate against the conditions that are prevalent locally. It is a fact that 18.5% of Wednesfield North children are living in poverty. Having the Green Belt as an asset on the doorstep, plays an important role in the ability of these children and their families to take advantage of these green spaces locally. Losing the Green Belt would have a detrimental effect on Wednesfield North families.
As a City Council we are always looking to improve our Local Neighbourhood. Work undertaken by the City informs that 64.8% are satisfied with their neighbourhood. This is close to the City average. But if we lose this huge Green Belt benefit to housing or any other development. Then we will also start to see us lose our own hard fought for Wednesfield Neighbourhood satisfaction ratings.
This will be because our already heavily used roads, and infrastructure here in Wednesfield will be also submerged as the 9,000 homes will tip huge amounts of people motorists and pollution into, and onto our own infrastructure and highway requirements.
9,000 homes alongside Wednesfield North and Wolverhampton City and County Boundaries will stretch our City education and health services, our District neighbourhood facilities, local district shopping and Public transport requirements.
We would also strongly object to any arrangements to link this development with our established community in Wednesfield. Brownfield sites in the City and The Black country needs to have been fully expired before valuable Green field sites are moved on by Authorities and developers a like. Please keep us informed of any further developments. Please confirm that you have received these objections.
Sent by Councillor Phil Bateman MBE,
Councillor Mary Bateman
Councillor Rita Potter