AN ANGRY Sutton Coldfield green belt campaigner has criticised proposals for a new industrial park said to create thousands of jobs as 'preposterous'.
Suzanne Webb who leads the Project Fields group which has battled for four years to protect land on the edge of the Royal Town from development slammed Birmingham City Council's claim the new site will be an 'exemplary industrial development' and will create 10,000 new jobs plus £350 million to the local economy.
The city authority announced that the Peddimore site will be a 71 hectare employment site with 265,000 sqm of new 'industrial floorspace' on Tuesday (March 14). It said it was 'one of the most significant industrial opportunities in the UK'.
The council proposes the site will have 'first class connectivity' and the availability of 'skilled local labour' which it says will attract global businesses. The plans were unveiled at MIPIM in Cannes hailed as 'the world's property market'.
Birmingham City Council launched a 'visioning document' for Peddimore to attract potential investors at the global real estate event in France.
Leader of Birmingham City Council, John Clancy, said: “Peddimore shows our ambition to deliver an exemplary industrial scheme that will become a catalyst for major growth and investment.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to bring thousands of skilled jobs to the area on the edge of our great city with enviable transport links. We're confident that this scheme will attract even more world-class businesses to the region, and I believe that presenting this Visioning Document at MIPIM will be the first step toward delivering a true legacy in the local area."
But Suzanne Webb said any businesses looking to relocate to the site on the edge of Walmley would suffer due to the poor infrastructure which already cannot cope and will only get worse if they were based there.
She said: “It is just preposterous that Peddimore is being touted as an 'exemplary industrial scheme'.
“Any supply chain business would grind to a halt if it was based there.
“Ten thousand jobs, alongside the new housing development for 6,000 houses, will set to see at least an additional 20,000 cars into the area.
“The road network is insufficient now with no means of widening any roads to cope with the increased capacity.
“The proposed entry-exit onto the A38 will solve nothing bar bringing thousands of additional HGVs and commercial vehicles into Walmley and the Sprint Bus service won't ever see the light of day.
“Even if it did it would not be able to 'sprint' as it would be sitting in single lane traffic tailbacks which we face now. We can but hope that any potential developer will see what is staring all of us in our face, chaos and what will be an environmental disaster for the whole of Sutton."
The city council said Peddimore, located less than 5km from Sutton Coldfield town centre, forms part of the 'main industrial corridor in Birmingham', which is already home to the likes of Jaguar Land Rover.
A council spokesperson said: “The greenfield site's scale, proximity to transport networks and major conurbations, and availability of skilled local labour is expected to appeal to all sectors of the occupational market.
“The positioning of the site on the fringes of the much favoured 'Golden Triangle' of local motorways is also anticipated to attract significant interest from national and international companies.
“The site is one of the best connected industrial hubs in the UK, with key roads such as the M1, M5, M6, M6 Toll, M42 and M69 all within 30 minutes.
“New public transport routes, including 'Sprint' – the bus based rapid transit system – will provide links between Peddimore and Birmingham city centre, which will include the new Birmingham Curzon HS2 station.
“Routes will also extend to the HS2 Interchange station in Solihull and Birmingham Airport, connecting Peddimore on a national and international scale."
Waheed Nazir, Strategic Director – Economy, Birmingham City Council, said: “Peddimore is a unique opportunity for a developer to partner with the city council in delivering a major industrial development at the heart of the UK.
“We are already home to some of the UK's major manufacturing and automotive companies, such as Jaguar Land Rover. The Peddimore development will allow us to capitalise on that position and create the opportunity for major international companies to invest and grow in Birmingham."
The council said Birmingham is experiencing 'unprecedented' levels of investment in infrastructure, and major new development schemes are coming to fruition across the city – from the £600 million redevelopment of New Street station to the £500 million Paradise regeneration scheme in the city centre.
It said: 'alongside its vibrant food scene, burgeoning high-end retail offer and world-class cultural assets, the city's national and international standing is going from strength to strength'.