Sandwell council plan to ‘concrete over’ Lion Farm Fields and replace them with a ‘high end’ outlet retail park
3 reasons why plan to turn Lion Farm fields into ‘posh shops’ must be stopped
i) Will have a huge detrimental impact on local residents and road users: Existing serious congestion problems will inevitably be made far worse. Massive supporting infrastructure work will be required, which will not be able to commence before 2020, when the M5 Junction 2 Oldbury Viaduct project is complete.
No one appears to be able to say what will be needed, or who will pay for it.
ii) Massive damage to the local environment and local wildlife will result: Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust have identified Lion Farm Playing Fields as a vital “wildlife corridor”.
iii) Loss of pitches may cause Warley & District Sunday football League to fold: The fields are currently used for a variety of sport and leisure activities.
In particular Warley and District Sunday League organisers have stated that the loss of Lion Farm Playing Fields, which contains twelve full size football pitches, in addition to the further two being lost at Londonderry (where the Commonwealth Games Aquatic centre is being built)
– is likely to cause their football league to fold, affecting dozens of clubs, and many hundreds of players.
4 reasons why plan to turn Lion Farm fields into ‘posh shops’ makes no sense
i) Will face extreme competition, from Merry Hill, Mill Green, ‘The Junction’: Oldbury Green Retail Park is expanding, planning permission has been granted (a full two years ago) to create new outlets on a site near Sandwell & Dudley train station, to be known as ‘The Junction’.
Intu have recently announced a £100m expansion of Merry Hill site, and a new designer outlet complex with 100 stores is already being built, due to open in Cannock town centre in 2020 (long before there is any chance of outlets opening as part of the ‘high end’ Lion Farm development).
ii) Part of the fields have legal protection (via Fields in Trust) : This trust status was transferred to part of the fields in 2012, via Fields In Trust, assisted by a significant contribution from Asda Foundation.
In order for the Lion Farm ‘posh shops’ development to proceed, this legal protection will need to be removed.
Green areas are absolutely vital to the health and well being of residents. It is well documented and accepted that Lion Farm fields are in an area of Sandwell which already has below average green space.
iii) Work to turn the fields into ‘posh shops’ will be expensive, lengthy and dangerous : There is landfill below the site, a number of electricity pylons will need relocating.
There is already considerable congestion on roads in this area… the Oldbury Junction 2 Viaduct project will not complete until next year, and a massive amount of work to turn Birchley Island into ‘a hamburger’ has just been agreed/authorised.
The additional huge and very disruptive changes to road infrastructure which would be required to support the proposed ‘posh shops’ development at Lion Farm fields will only serve to create ‘a living nightmare’ for local residents (and anyone passing through the area) …for many years to come.
iv) Poor rail access: There is simply no railway station within a reasonable walking distance.
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