MP challenges Boris Johnson on protecting Coventry’s green belt

Taiwo Owatemi MP expressed her concerns that the Government would “trample on our green spaces and build unaffordable, low-quality homes in its place”.

Pictured: Taiwo Owatemi MP speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions on 7 October.

Taiwo Owatemi, the MP for Coventry North West, on Wednesday afternoon, questioned Boris Johnson in the House of Commons on his promise to build homes in Coventry without encroaching on green belt land.

The Labour MP has doubts about the proposed housing plans based on the Government’s projection that the population of Coventry will grow by 32% – twice as fast as Birmingham’s.

Owatemi said in the House of Commons: “Many in my city of Coventry are concerned the Government is, yet again, relying on dodgy figures to trample on our green spaces and build unaffordable, low-quality homes in its place.

“As Coventry is running out of brownfield sites, precisely where does he expect these new homes to be built?”

The Prime Minister replied that there is “abundant brown field space across the whole of the UK”, citing the many sites in London when he was Mayor.

Owatemi said she had previously requested a meeting with the Housing Minister to discuss the matter, but had not received a reply.

The MP’s concern comes after Cllr David Welsh, Coventry’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, spoke out against plans he claims would reduce the availability of affordable housing in the city.

Owatemi went on to express her frustration at the “inaction” of Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, who she claims is not “challenging his own party on their plans to double housing in Coventry & Warwickshire.”

Mayor Andy Street in the past has spoken out against green belt development plans and set out an “eight-point plan” to protect them.

Back in May, the Mayor said: “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.

“My ‘Green Belt Pledge’ lets the people of Coventry know that the Mayor will be on their side when it comes to fighting unwanted proposals from developers.”

Owatemi said: “It’s clear we desperately need a new West Midlands Mayor who knows affordable homes and conserving our countryside is not an either, or.

“The Conservatives are out of touch, out of date and out of ideas”, she concluded.