Update on Wilderness Lane submission by HIMOR

As many residents in the area are aware, we have received information about the significance of the archaeological remains under the Peak House Farm land off Wilderness Lane. The developer would have to pay for the cost of any archaeological investigation of the site, if Sandwell Council made it a condition of any planning application. (People should remember that at the moment HIMOR have not submitted a planning application, just submitted a request that the land be considered for housing as part of the Black Country Plan, and Sandwell's planning officers have said it is unlikely to be included in the plan. However, they also then seem to expect the developer to appeal to the Secretary of State, despite it being a protected site.)

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You can read more about the consultation process for the Black Country Plan in the Draft Plan Consultation Preparations section of the Black Country Plan website. These should open this summer, and the draft plan is not due to be finalised until 2023.

We have also suggested that Greater Manchester Police investigate whether the developer has made exaggerated claims about the availability of this site to investors. (HIMOR are based in Carrington, Manchester.) If they have made similar claims about its availability of the site to investors as they have in the Call for Sites Questionnaire it would be somewhat misleading. (As you know, in addition the archaeological interest above, the site is protected by historic hedgerow legislation, and has been designated as a Site of Interest for Nature Conservation by Sandwell Council. Both of these are existing protections that the developer seems to have ignored in claiming there are no constraints to the development.)

Mark Smith, Nigel Fearn, Sadie Smith

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