Despite successfully defeating a planning application earlier in the year, an updated application has been submitted, this time by the council itself, to build on the green space between Highfield Road and Foredraft Street, and on the car park at the back of the shops at the top of Windmill Hill.
A petition, organised by the new community group 'Friends of Colley Gate', has attracted more than 50 signatures from concerned locals. They say that the updated plans do little to address the concerns raised in the initial application just 6 months ago.
The Friends are a new community group that was set up following the rejection of the initial planning application. They initially aimed to take ownership of the green space and turn it into an area that locals can be proud of. But since the appearance of the site in the Black Country Plan, and then a planning application submitted by the council, the group is now focussed on saving the green space yet again. Ranjeet Furhuraire, a founding member of Friends of Colley Gate said:
“We will protest hard to get our concerns across to Dudley Council but this time with more voices and support. There is a huge consensus to maintain a clean and safe open space for our wellbeing.
“Protecting the green between Highfield Road and Foredraft Street is more important than ever and a welcome place for our residents to use to get some space from this madness our country is in.
"All the residents are asking is a space for us to cherish and a place for us to breathe. Why can't we have a little green space to enjoy?”
Ryan Priest, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Cradley and Wollescote, added: “Highfield Road and Foredraft Street are simply not appropriate for development.
"Traffic and parking is a nightmare, and the car park is vital to local businesses – not to mention the importance and the potential of the green space.
“It’s a great shame that the Conservative leader of the council has come out in support of building here, and even more a shame that local conservative councillors and activists are sitting on the fence on the issue.”