Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reassured the residents of rural parts of West Midlands that extra housing plans “will focus on brownfield sites”.

It comes after concerns were raised about the pressure on green belt land in the constituency of Meriden.

There are growing calls to protect the green belt – alongside a recognition that more housing is needed as populations continue to increase.

Earlier this month petitions were submitted to Coventry City Council which called for a halt to development on Coventry’s former green belt and to review the Local Plan.

The petitions had been signed by almost 7,000 people.

Concerns are echoed in the neighbouring constituency of Meriden, according to MP Saqib Bhatti.

This week he questioned Mr Johnson in the House of Commons, asking for a reassurance that the Prime Minister will do “everything he can to protect our precious green belt.”

What was said?

Mr Bhatti said: “My constituents in Meriden understand the need for more housing, but the majority of Meriden is green-belt land.

“Across Meriden – in places such as Balsall Common, Dorridge, Knowle, Dickens Heath, Hockley Heath, Catherine-de-Barnes and Hampton-in-Arden – residents are quite rightly concerned about the pressures on the green belt.



Saqib Bhatti, elected MP for Meriden in December 2019, previously president of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and Asian Business Chamber of Commerce

“Can the Prime Minister confirm that his Government are a brownfield first Government, and can he also confirm that he will do everything he can to protect our precious green belt?”

Mr Johnson replied: “I certainly can. It was a former Labour Planning Minister who said, “The Green Belt is a Labour achievement, and we intend to build on it.” That is what he said.

“The Government’s approach is entirely different. Our planning reform will not change. That is what the Opposition want to do.

“We will not change existing policy to protect the green belt, and our housing targets, which are very ambitious, will focus, as my hon. Friend rightly says, on brownfield.”

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