They really are desperate. I’m talking about housing allocations and the phoney “need for more houses” based on the constructed lies of the house building industry and their political bought friends of influence, by the politicisation of homelessness , abysmal immigration figures and the desire to drum up more council tax to disguise the major fraud and theft going on in town halls. Unfortunately it’s difficult to find any political party who support development on so called “green belt land”, but instead think it is a good idea to build new homes on shit “brownfield land” polluted and left for decades, and even more deluded that these sites can be “cleaned up” because some paid environmental consultant can write a pack of lies with the knowledge that none of the promoted claims will ever be challenged by any regulator.
“Green belt” land remains a place out of dwelling bounds for the privileged few, where all of those championing “regeneration” of urban sites instead live, whilst towns continue to be overpopulated and increasingly more dangerous from the fallout of contaminated constructors playing LEGOLAND on sites of brown.
Land around Rattlechain lagoon has been misused for decades by tatters and foundry sand dumping Charlatans. I have gone into some of the issues of “misery” that was inflicted on local residents by the bizarre arrangement between a dodgy quango (The Black Country Development Corporation- BCDC) and a “land reclamation” company who changed their name that often, like a whore’s underwear, to leave a twisted legacy of planning applications and dubious “improvements” to the area. Some 30 years on, to the utter failure of the BCDC, most of this land remains barren and not “reclaimed” at all, with buried waste beneath the mounds of black foundry dross that was piled without purpose on top of it. Sandwell council in their wisdom even fenced off this “derelict land” to the cost of the taxpayer, to “protect” local residents, but where the f#ck was the site owner?
Nature has taken over with greenery, and that is the way it should remain, though it appears with the ludicrous “garden city” promoted by a pigmy clone of the BCDC, as well as the unwanted and undemocratic Tory Tonka Mayor, that the misery may one day return to the former Duport’s tip land bank.
What is certain is that the profitable part of the slew of planning applications, starting in the early 1990’s, were really about developing the former Severn Trent Water Tividale sewage works- (now Callaghan and Wilson Drives). The sewage sludge itself was offloaded and layered into the Duport’s Tip area- it was not therefore ever removed off the original “reclamation” application site.
The process of this development is long and complex, and I am not going to go into it all in this post, but what is certain is that Rattlechain lagoon itself played a major part, and remains a major constraint to development around it.
The Unitary Development Plan- an SMBC document published at intervals of ten years earmarks land allocations for different uses. What is clear is that this former Severn Trent works off John’s Lane, coming to the end of its life in 1988, were at different times tabled for both industrial, then residential use. But it appears that there was much debate from within SMBC itself amongst planners as to what the future held with such sites as these.
The following discussion took place between Robert Lee and John Baylay of SMBC planning, with reference to a business development proposal by Darlinson Dyer for the sewage works site. The context of this is that a previous application by Mintworth for residential had been turned down, ref BCS2780 in July 1997, because of the adjacency to Rattlechain lagoon– then still actively in use. It is clear that there was some existing relationship between Darlinson Dyer and Mintworth, and that Severn Trent were also paying more than a passing interest in developments, even though they had offloaded this crap site to Mintworth in 1988.
In an email dated 29th April 2002, Robert Lee contacts Keith Bird (SMBC) and Tony Rice (SMBC) complaining that he is being forced to report a departure from the adopted UDP to the cabinet advisory team (CAT). There is the mention of the name “STEVE”, and if this does not refer to the former head of legal services Steve Cork, I can think of only one councillor by this name who ever held a cabinet position around this time.
What is clear from this whinge, is that the planning officers appear to be being put under great pressure politically to identify residential sites, even if they are shit ones like this, but when these are turned back towards business sites, they have to justify these “departures”.
John Baylay, principal planning officer, and the man whose name appeared on virtually all of the planning applications decided in this area around this time replies to Lee in no uncertain terms, with the most astute observation of all in that
“It’s a crap site for residential”
He reveals that Development control and building consultancy opposed the reallocation of the site from business in the adopted UDP to residential “BECAUSE OF THE PROXIMITY OF THE SITE TO ALBRIGHT AND WILSON LAGOON WHICH IS A CHEMICAL WASTE TIP, BUT THEIR CONCERNS WERE IGNORED.”
The question which arises from this is what retarded thick fucking idiot in Sandwell council decided or overruled these professional officers advice in changing this site in the review of the UDP? Building homes next to one of the most contaminated sites in Europe that was still actively tipping a virtually unique hazardous waste stream. This cretin or cretins must have had some purely financial motive in doing so, in allowing a residential site next to this “potentially hazardous” neighbour “in both public safety and security terms”.
Baylay then outlines that SMBC are in the position of not being able to guarantee the safety of such a site in that they do not have any information from Rhodia who will not give up information into the public domain (don’t we know that), and that a risk assessment has not been carried out or agreed on by the EA or HSE.
Lee replies to this, again mentioning the mysterious “Steve” in that he will have to justify reasons for inconsistency. He then states that Steve would likely ask him about the “struggling housing figures” and that if other contaminated brownfield sites were investigated despite being lined up for housing, would this make all of them undeliverable?
The Darlinson Dyer proposals, in my view just a ruse to force local residents into preferring residential units rather than industrial ones, never materialised and eventually this “crap site” was turned into housing after the council’s refusal for the valid reasons stated by John Baylay above were overturned by a Bristol based idiot who knew nothing of the area. The case offered by SMBC at this planning inspectorate hearing , and the fact that Rhodia dropped their objections bizarrely at the last minute to avoid appearing and being cross examined about their dangerous white phosphorus containing site, was truly shocking and half hearted- costing the tax payer more in costs. Of course, Severn Stench who had offloaded this site did not pay a penny towards its remediation , or care anything about the unsuitability of the site for residential end use. WHERE DID THE POLLUTER PAY IN THIS INSTANCE ? AND WHAT A LEGACY WAS CREATED, AS ONE UNFORTUNATE RESIDENT CONNED OUT OF MONEY REPORTED.
THE UNION OF THE TWO TURDS
Several years on and Sandwell council appear desperate to build on green spaces and particularly playing fields for their “struggling housing figures”. The latest strange deal which has been mooted for several years appears to involve them buying land infested with human excrement under the title of “Midlands Land Portfoilio”- an offshoot of Severn Trent’s disposable crap sites. This site is located in Friar Park, Wednesbury on the Walsall border, and next to a railway sidings at Bescot, that are themselves currently involved in a highly controversial HS2 sleeper factory proposal that SMBC councillors and Tom Watson claim to be against, (yet their officers have been dealing with Network Rail for years in bringing it to fruition). It is difficult to imagine anyone wanting to buy a house in such a location. Yet SMBC are prepared to flush taxpayers money away by buying this valueless crap site from Severn Stench!
Severn Stench have an absolutely appalling record of environmental pollution- and currently their pollution of Smethwick hall park, as well as brook courses which feed it where birds have died after human excrement has entered the water, appears still unresolved.
Historic imagery overlay maps shows that very little has changed with the land uses in many decades, though houses in Friar Park themselves were also built on former sewage works. No doubt the layered crap was smeared into a playing field as a “gift” to the future by the crooks who wanted to facilitate built development there.
Documents submitted to the recent council’s cabinet meeting in a report outline the extent of the SMBC owned land and the adjoining Severn Stench land that they want to buy off this polluter.
“The Severn Trent site is known to contain sewage sludge up to seven metres deep with potential gas production and contamination with heavy metals. “
“It is considered unsuitable for foundations for construction and it is suggested that the sludge be moved and encapsulated with a capping layer into a bund as part of a redevelopment strategy. There are however potential future environmental liabilities associated with the acquisition. “
Wow what a bargain SMBC are getting from these private sector polluters for this absolutely crap land!
Previously, politicians in Sandwell have denied that their motive in building new houses for the sake of it is to generate extra council tax in order to cover up their disastrous panache for blowing it on white elephant projects. But at 7.9 in this report, there is little hiding that this ludicrous deal is exactly motivated specifically for this purpose. That should cover the cost of more “special responsibility” bonuses for the cunning labour crooks at SMBC.
The remediation costs for this disaster waiting to happen has not even been calculated- and why would Severn Stench even have bothered to do this? No doubt the idiots at SMBC will declare that there is no environmental impact assessment needed either.
A map submitted with the report, (click link above), shows the parcels of SMBC land with the crap Severn Trent doughnut smack bang in the middle of it. It is this croissant of merde that you the taxpayer are going to pay this private company for the pleasure of owning. The blue line is the area of where the sleeper factory , which SMBC negotiated with Network rail to build and support, even though the local councillors claim to be against it. How can both of these projects possibly go together? No doubt the layered metres of shite in the stench area will be turned into “an acoustic bund”, otherwise known as a bank of shite to mask the new residents from the HS$ factory. My fear is that most of this crap will end up in the River Tame, just as a disastrous development at Hateley Heath delivered where fraudulent “green” technology claimed that this bitumen factory and associated spillages would be heat treated to remove it. It was a lie.
HS2 is of course an unwanted white elephant joke, but largely politically supported by the main parties. Meanwhile as Tory Tonka and his WMCA entourage continue to obsess about public transport by providing an antiquated rack on grooves so that a few lazy fat bastards do not have to walk a few extra hundred meters, Birmingham and Wolverhampton Town centres resemble gridlocked building site no go areas.
The SMBC spinners, will also talk of keeping it local, whilst using outside national consultants and blow your shit investment. I am aware that they are also mooting the sale of Browns farm in West Bromwich FOR SPORTS PITCHES, to replace the many football pitches that they are flogging off elsewhere in the borough in bent investment deals and the ridiculous Commonwealth games that bankrupt Birmingham only wanted. No doubt they will go cap in hand to another quango that they have fleeced before in “Sport England” to achieve this- and this development is bizarrely inside Sandwell’s “greenbelt land”. That’s some “protection”- though no doubt any of this will get an environmental impact assessment either.
But why end there? Surely at 750 homes, SMBC are selling themselves short. Why fork out hundreds of thousands of pounds on bricks and mortar when materials are free to hand? I’m sure that this crap from Severn Trent’s offload could be recycled and made into “mud” huts, like the one built below from cow manure. Just think of how much money the Sandwell socialists could generate whilst “saving the environment”. I’m just joking of course, but with this Loony council, I reckon some lightbulbs may just have switched on….