HUNDREDS of concerned residents turned out to a meeting organised amid fears Green Belt land on the edge of Kingswinford and Wordsley could be under threat of development.

Dudley South MP Mike Wood organised the meeting, held at Wordsley’s Belle Vue Primary School in response to fears raised by the Friends of Ridgehill Woods that the old Lawnswood estate and Ridgehill Woods could be turned into a new housing estate with hundreds of homes.

Up to 400 people turned up to the meeting on Thursday (February 28) - so many that it had to be held in two sittings.

Stourbridge News: Hundreds of people were left outside - such was the turnout at the meeting at about Ridgehill Woods. Pic by Philippa PearsonHundreds of people were left outside - such was the turnout at the meeting at about Ridgehill Woods. Pic by Philippa Pearson

Stourbridge News: Hundreds of residents packed into the meeting at Belle Vue Primary School. Pic courtesy of Adam JamesHundreds of residents packed into the meeting at Belle Vue Primary School. Pic courtesy of Adam James

Mr Wood said of the turnout: "It was fantastic, far more than any of us could remember for a public meeting. It really did highlight the strength of feeling locally about how much people care about our green belt and how strongly opposed to any development they would be."

No plans have been submitted for the site but speculation has been rife that it could be released from the green belt after land and property developers Clowes Developments suggested it as a possible location for an urban extension as part of the Black Country Core Strategy.

Senior council officers from South Staffordshire Council David Paterson and Kelly Harris attended the meeting, along with council leader Councillor Brian Edwards, as well as Dudley councillors, and Mr Wood said he hoped South Staffordshire Council had heard "loud and clear" the message from worried residents this side of the border.

He added: "They now know just how strongly opposed people would be to any housing on this green belt."

But he stressed: "We're a long way away from a planning application being put in. The local plan won't really be put together until next year to allocate where they think housing should go."

And he added: "As the council said there were 600 submissions to the core strategy - that would be about 80,000 homes; there's only 40,000 in the district. Ninety per cent of sites submitted won't proceed to a planning application.

"It was important for the local community to hear from councillors and even more important for the council to hear from the community about what a fight they would have if they ever consider planning permission for this site."

Liz Johnson, of the Friends of Ridgehill Woods, said of the meeting: "It's wonderful that the community are increasing their engagement in the campaign to raise awareness. What was really interesting was there was a great deal of pensioner power in attendance - people really concerned that they have had a lifetime of using the woods and they wanted to pass that on to their grandchildren."

Councillor Brian Edwards MBE, leader of South Staffordshire Council, said: "We are pleased to have been given the opportunity to present the facts to concerned residents and assure them that as we are at a very early stage of the Local Plan review.

"The council has not yet chosen any sites for the new plan.

"The review began in autumn 2018 and we are aiming to adopt the new Local Plan in 2022.”

Mr Wood said anyone unable to stay for the second meeting or who did not have their question answered on the night can email him at and he will contact the council and share the response afterwards.

Residents can stay up to date with the campaign efforts of the Friends of Ridgehill Woods on Facebook or

The group is currently finalising efforts to document all well-trodden walking routes through the woods to ensure they are logged as public rights of way before they are lost forever.

To find out more about the South Staffordshire Local Plan go to or to register for updates email