Calls have been made for a development blueprint for the city to be urgently reviewed over fears that green belt land could be lost to homes that do not need to be built.
The message comes from West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, who has made a “Green Belt Pledge” and wrote to Coventry City Council outlining his concerns. Mr Street is seeking re-election to the post later this year.
The Local Plan is a document which sets out how many homes should be built across the city and where.
But Mr Street says that it’s based on flawed population numbers.
Cllr George Duggins, leader of Coventry City Council, disagrees.
In a reply to Mr Street, he said the Local Plan is “robust” with “a clear mechanism built in for review” and that an early review is not needed.
Liam Byrne, Labour’s candidate for the West Midlands Mayor role, argued the homes needed can be built on brownfield sites.
Mr Street has set out an “eight-point plan” to protect open spaces and the green belt.
“Much-loved areas like Eastern Green in Coventry are being targeted by developers who want to build thousands of new homes, and the flawed Local Plan is allowing them to get away with it.
“I would rather see new family homes built on cleaned-up brownfield sites in the Black Country, or new apartments built in Birmingham City Centre, than diggers tearing apart our green belt.
“My ‘Green Belt Pledge’ lets the people of the Coventry know that the Mayor will be on their side when it comes to fighting unwanted proposals from developers.”
He added: “These are based on a consistent, national methodology and must be the basis for preparing local plans. Projections are issued every two years and continue to project significant growth for Coventry. The next set of growth projections are due to be issued this summer.”
In terms of having a Local Plan, Cllr Duggins said that, without one, there could be a “free for all” which could actually lead to the loss of more green belt, as the city would be “exposed to rogue planning proposals”.
He concluded: “Even if the government agrees to a reduction in their agreed figures of 42,400 any reduction will come from the numbers other neighbouring local authorities have agreed on our behalf and not from Coventry’s figures as our figures are 24,000.
“I consider the current Coventry Local Plan to be robust and with a clear mechanism built in for review I therefore do not consider it necessary or appropriate at this time to call for an early review.”
Mr Byrne challenged Mr Street to “talk less and build more”.He added: “Building homes people can actually afford has collapsed under our Tory Mayor. Everyone knows the homes we need for the foreseeable future can be built on brownfield sites. So what the Mayor needs to do is simple: talk less and build more.”