Council leader says new legislation “vindicates” Black Country Plan pull-out

Proposed new government legislation giving local people a bigger say on developments in their towns has been hailed as “fantastic news” by the leader of Dudley Council.

Councillor Patrick Harley said it would “vindicate” his decision to withdraw from the Black Country Plan earlier this year for Dudley to go it alone.

The legislation also lays out a strong brownfield first strategy to new homebuilding projects, and would give local authorities the power to set their own housing targets.

It makes it clear that councils will be under no obligation to review green belt land for possible housing use.

Levelling Up secretary Michael Gove set out in writing last week the plans - which Prime Minister Rishi Sunak committed to in the summer - as part of the proposed Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of the council, said:

“This is fantastic news and vindicates our stance in withdrawing from the Black Country Plan.

“We have stressed throughout the importance of two things in the planning process – that the thoughts of local residents are taken into account and that green belt land is protected from development.

“I am delighted that the government’s position statement agrees with what we have been saying all along.

“We will now watch with a keen eye as further details around the policy unfold.”

Around 20,000 Dudley borough residents submitted responses to the original Black Country plan.

Half of those signed petitions to safeguard two areas of green belt that had been earmarked for development – land south of Holbeache Lane, Kingswinford, and in Swindon Road, Wall Heath.


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