CAMPAIGNERS are stepping up efforts to try to protect their much-loved countryside for future generations after surveyors were spotted eyeing up prime possible development sites on green belt on the edge of the Black Country.

A petition launched amid fears that green belt fields off Clent View Road in Stourbridge could be given over for up to 400 homes has topped more than 1,800 names.

Meanwhile - the Friends of Ridgehill Woods have been leafleting in the Wordsley and Kingswinford areas to raise awareness of a possible bid to build on the Wordsley beauty spot and surrounding fields off the A449 to help meet the demand for homes in South Staffordshire where 8,845 houses are needed by 2037.

Liz Johnson, of the Friends of Ridgehill Woods, said: "Our area has been swarming with surveyors over the past week. Traffic surveys at stupid hours, not peak. I think they will try to push ahead before the Staffordshire County Council Local Plan is decided."

Mark Binnersley of the Save Clent View Road Fields campaign, has said residents in Norton "will not tolerate development of the green belt" and he plans to hand over the petition with nearly 2,000 names to Councillor Brian Edwards, leader of South Staffordshire Council, later this month to show the level of opposition to any building on countryside on the edge of the Black Country.

Meanwhile - with just a week to go before the country goes to the polls - vote-hungry politicians have been pledging to support a brownfield first policy.

The Green Party's Andi Mohr, a candidate for Stourbridge in the forthcoming election, has pledged to protect the green belt and he said: "I oppose the undemocratic approach to housing development pursued here and across the country where residents aren't consulted meaningfully. I am a big advocate of community-led housing projects where local people play an active role from the start of housing projects and throughout, with a focus on affordability, sustainability and being appropriate for the locality."

Labour's Pete Lowe has also pledged to help protect the green belt around Stourbridge and he said: ""I unequivocally support the Norton campaign to save Clent View Road Fields.

"I have been working with community activists to get this land designated as protected green space. Additionally, as your Stourbridge MP I would be actively campaigning for a change in legislation that provided local residents with more control over planning issues such as this."

Lib Dem Chris Bramall said he would not "sign pledges during an election campaign – it can so easily lead to disappointment or recriminations" but he said he had sent a letter objecting to any plans to build on the green belt to South Staffordshire Council and he added: "Locally I will fight to preserve the Green Belt – Foxcote, Racecourse Lane, Clent View, Corbett Meadow – and oppose a Western Orbital Motorway ruining the countryside west of Stourbridge."

Suzanne Webb, of the Conservative Party, describes herself as a passionate green belt campaigner and she said: "I will work tirelessly to defend the green belt areas of Stourbridge. I fully support the brownfield first approach to ensure our green fields are protected. I was in Clent View Road on Monday speaking to residents and listening to their concerns. I think we all feel the same about the green belt, it should only be released in exceptional circumstances."

Aaron Hudson, Brexit Party turned independent candidate, added: "Developing on open green fields seems like a bad idea. We'll be living in a concrete jungle eventually. If they build more houses it will put pressure on schools and GPs and our schools are already overflowing and our GPs ridiculously packed."

Candidates for Dudley South have also spoken out and Mike Wood, of the Conservative Party, has urged concerned residents to have their say in South Staffordshire Council's consultation on possible future development sites by emailing or posting comments to Local Plans Team, Council Offices, Codsall, South Staffordshire WV8 1PX. To find out more go to

Mr Wood said: "We have enough housing supply across Birmingham and the Black Country for what we will need over 15 or 20 years. There's no justification for building on the green belt.

"We're not at the point where any formal plans have been put in but it's really important that everybody who is concerned about the green belt responds to the consultation.

"It would put unnecessary strain on our services in Wordsley and Kingswinford. It would also irreversibly destroy so much of our natural heritage - that's too precious to give away for housing that would be much better placed on brownfield sites."

The Labour Party's Lucy Caldicott said she supports Dudley Labour group's stance on looking at brownfield sites first and added: "I understand we need more houses but I don't know why we would be looking at green belt first rather than sites in developed areas already."

Cate Mohr, of the Green Party, said: "Shoving new estates on greenbelt land, just because there is a gap is not a way to solve the housing crisis.

"The whole approach to new housing we have in this country is backwards. The right way to do it is to involve communities early on, make sure developments are suitable for the area, make sure they have excellent transport connections and services nearby and are fully sustainable."

Lib Dem candidate Jonathan Bramall said: "We should be developing on brownfield sites - specifically derelict buildings, houses, factories and industrial sites. If you develop derelict sites you're not only removing an eyesore - you're protecting sites like Ridgehill Woods which is giving benefit to residents."

South Staffordshire Council has stressed that no sites have yet been selected for development and that preferred sites will be consulted on in summer 2020.

Meanwhile - all comments about proposed broad locations for future housing growth should be submitted to South Staffordshire Council in writing to the above address by 5pm on Thursday December 12.