EXTENSIVE plans to develop Corbett Meadow haver been unveiled by developers who want to build new homes and a new park on the last parcel of untouched land in Amblecote.

The Corbett Meadow Action Group looks set to have a battle ahead to try to preserve the ancient meadowland which has long been used for grazing and which provides a vital haven and corridor for wildlife.

Following last June's publication of the first draft of the Black Country Plan, which identifies land for future development, campaigners were delighted to see a proposal to give the meadow the same protection as green belt.

However, housebuilding firm Charles Church (part of Persimmon) has been working with the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, which owns the land, and has now unveiled ambitious plans to develop the site.

An extensive scheme has been drawn up for the land, off Vicarage Road, which would see half of it turned into a new public park with ponds, an orchard and children’s play area.

On their website the developers say the plan is to build 90 new homes on the least sensitive part of the site, to create a new park for the residents of Stourbridge and to generate additional funding for the Dudley Group which runs Russells Hall Hospital and Corbett and Guest Outpatient Centres.

Diane Wake, chief executive of the trust, said: “In light of financial challenges that face the NHS we are under a duty to make the best use of our resources and public money.

“NHS guidance sets out our requirements to dispose of any surplus assets. We are required to sell the parcel of land we own at the rear of Corbett Outpatient Centre, and reinvest the money directly back into patient care for the people of Dudley and surrounding areas.”

She said money would be spent on “crucial medical equipment to support the local communities’ healthcare” and she added: “We are therefore in ongoing discussions with a developer regarding the surplus land and they have recently launched a public consultation to share the plans and gather views.”

Amblecote councillor Paul Bradley said the action group has called an urgent meeting to discuss the proposal and he added: “This is an early stage for the development as I have seen no material planning application come forward as yet.

“It will be essential to work with Dudley planning officers who have recommended future protections for this historic land by a local green space designation as part of the Black Country Plan that would be adopted in 2024.

“There is a lot of discussion ahead of us and the group will decide our response in the coming days.”

Lance Cartwright, of the Corbett Meadow Action Group, said the group had been somewhat expecting the news and he urged people to watch a video about the proposed Amblecote Grange development online at www.amblecotegrange.com.

People are invited to give their thoughts and even to suggest a name for the proposed public park.

Mr Cartwright urged people to be mindful that “when it’s gone, it’s gone forever” before giving their views on the proposal for the land, once part of The Hill estate which was bought by salt king John Corbett for the creation of a hospital in 1892.

It was eventually acquired by the NHS in 1948.