Home    Northfield’s Redevelopment Dispute

Up until recently, there had been plans for 1000 new homes to be built in #Northfield, #Birmingham, as a redevelopment on the North Worcestershire Golf Club. However, this plan seems to be under threat of being tossed out of the property window. The bid suggested demolishing the club house (and maybe even part of the course itself) and replacing it with a new community, but there have been people fighting against this venture. Bloor Homes were responsible for the bid, but since they announced their proposal, they’ve been hit with a tidal wave of opposition from not only councillors but from the general public too.

There are arguments for both sides of the story, but what will Birmingham City Council vote next week when the debate is held?

Redevelopment objectives.
Living Space.
Letters of support have been flooding into the council’s inbox, each with their own opinions on how the redevelopment will be useful to Northfield. The first reason (and the most obvious) would be the amount of living space created by these new builds – not only have people expressed a desire for new homes in the area, but also for it to be more affordable. This would be a huge advantage to younger, first-time buyers, who make up a lot of Northfield’s current population.

Included features.
The new homes are not the only buildings being designed for the project. It was also proposed that a primary school could be built there, alongside a community hub with an adjoining play area. Imagine a school day ending with pupils spending some time with their friends on the play equipment while parents wait and have a chat in the hub within sight of their home. It would be very convenient and would offer more space for children to spend more time with their friends and family.

Open space.
The residents would also have new access onto the 80-acre stretch of land, previously the golf course itself, which has so far been out-of-reach to the public. More open space would mean attractive surroundings for the new homes and easy access means a lot of use; people could enjoy the greenery, the fresh air, the space to run and play.

Social switch.
There are arguments stating that the area is currently a target for anti-social behaviour. It is believed that the “closed” title hanging over the golf club attracts reckless and offensive individuals by suggesting lower security and fewer people to be witnessed by. Even though the club has assured people that the security remains turned on and steady 24 hours a day, the rebellious individuals may not be aware of that and have taken a liking to the quiet, secluded corners the area provides. A new community would bring more protection to the area and therefore more threat to these wrong-doers, sending them scurrying with their tail between their legs.

Unhelpful and unnecessary.
Many people have been commenting on how the new houses, primary school and community hub will have a negative impact on the area.

First of all, the public have been accusing the redevelopment of risking recreational space. This is understandable, as the golf course offers a large area of green land which people would be able to enjoy, and building on any amount of it would be irresponsible. This greenery is what is called “natural capital”, indicating the area is an ecosystem made up of soil, air, water, and all manner of living things – The Wildlife Trust have been in touch with the council reminding them of this, indicating it would be in poor taste if Bloor Homes were to build on any of it.

It has also been pointed out by the education chiefs that the applicant’s assessment of the school placement was flawed. This is worrying, because if they can make mistakes about something as important and in need of protection as a school, it makes you wonder what else they haven’t researched or planned properly.

There may not be as many reasons against the redevelopment as there are supporting it, but they are important points which will carry a lot of weight in the debate next week. We all hope that whatever decision they make, it will be the right one.

More on the blog.

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