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People power forces rethink on Lordswood and Coxford housing scheme
A plan for 118 new homes in Lordswood and Coxford has been thrown on the scrap heap after city council boss Richard Williams was forced to ditch it through a show of people power.
Residents packed a community centre to make it clear to Councillor Williams they would not stand for his proposals on what he described as “dead land” of grass verges and green spaces.
In what has been described as an “astonishing” meeting so many people turned up to have their say that they were unable to fit into the main hall at Lordswood Commun-ity Centre. They queued in the corridors and even outside in the pouring rain chanting: “We don’t want it here”, determined to make their voices heard.
After a unanimous vote against the plans Cllr Richard Williams bowed to public opinion and announced that the idea “would go no further”.
The scheme was earmarked for land in Coxford and Lordswood. But as soon as they saw them residents attacked the plans for being “stupid” and “crazy”. They feared more traffic and accidents and objected to the loss of the remaining green space.
Cllr Williams said the plans were drawn up by Barratt Developments at no cost to taxpayers after listening to concerns about a lack of housing made by residents during last year’s council election campaign.
People complained sons, daughters and grandchildren couldn’t afford to buy homes in the community where they grew up.
But on Friday night Cllr Williams faced a barrage of questions from residents, who only had reasons why the plans should be axed.
Cllr Don Thomas, who represents Coxford, said: “The very idea of building six-storey-high blocks of flats and row upon row of houses on our green open spaces along Lordshill Way was always a crazy notion.
“Resident after resident spoke eloquently giving good, sound reasons why this idea was such a preposterous and impractical proposal in the first place.
“It was a true victory for people power.”
Resident Pam Matthews said: “I am very proud of the community for coming out and showing their opposition. The people here are proud that they have got this piece of wooded area and we are pleased it is staying.”
Cllr Williams said that residents now had the opportunity to come up with alternative plans, adding: “This was never a formal proposal. This was a genuine idea and it was only going to go ahead if the residents were happy with it and they clearly were not.
“To have around 200 people come out against the idea is a significant community response and we have listened. I have now asked the residents’ association to come back to me if they had other ideas about solving the housing issue.”
The plans would have seen homes built on the verge near Sinclair Nursery and Primary School and on verges further east along Lord’s Hill Way. More would have been built at the rear entrance of Hollybrook Cemetery in Lordswood Road and on the turning circle outside the Rose Road Association centre.