24 November 2019
The Green Party is opposed to the plans to build 13,000 homes on land formerly marked as greenbelt in Keresley, Eastern Green, Coundon Wedge, Westwood Heath, and Kings Hill. We have been consistent supporters of the Greenbelt campaign for many years.
Firstly, there is no real evidence that these homes are needed. The 'Local Plan', which calls for them, is based on misleading figures. It treats an increase in student numbers as a long-term population growth trend. Since planning was agreed, Coventry's population has actually grown much more slowly than predicted. Because of this, we believe that the homes our city actually needs can easily be built on our many brownfield sites.
Secondly, we are very concerned that the designs of these houses does not include measures to combat climate change.
Plans are not contingent on making it easy for the residents in these new homes to get around by foot, bicycle, or public transport. Car-dependent developments around the city edges will increase our carbon emissions, as well as making Coventry's congestion and air pollution problems even worse. 'Greenbelt' is intended to protect the air we breath and counteract intense pollution in built-up areas.
Thirdly, most of the land in question is a valuable habitat for wildlife. There are lots of valuable plant and animal species which live in these fields, trees and hedgerows, and we could lose many of them if the land is built on. British wildlife is facing an extinction crisis, and building on these sites could make that worse.
Fourthly, the housing that is proposed is mostly expensive luxury housing, rather than the genuinely affordable housing which local people actually need.
Finally, the plans that have been approved so far do not include community facilities like shops, doctor surgeries, or schools. Building so many houses in an area without adequate infrastructure puts an even greater strain on already stretched public services.
Any of these points would be a good enough reason to oppose these housing plans. All of them together mean that the plans are indefensible.
More details about CoventryGreenbelt.org
Stephen Gray, Green Party candidate for Coventry North West joined the recent Save Our Greenbelt Walk in Keresley
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