CAMPAIGNERS who fought against the development of homes on Saltwells Nature Reserve have spoken of their joy following the refusal of the application.

Lesley Dunn, a campaigner from the Save Saltwells Nature Reserve group, said she was 'overjoyed' with the news that planning officials had thrown out the plan for the development of nine homes on the Dudley beauty spot.

Lesley said: "We're absolutely overjoyed, we're very pleased that the application was refused and also we're so happy with the campaign.

"It's been very positive, there has been no anger towards the council."

Lesley paid tribute to the positivity and enthusiasm of campaigners, and noted how the campaign have people the chance to think about the importance of green spaces in Dudley.

She added: "I have enjoyed seeing people of many political persuasions have come together. We have all worked together as a team.

"We know that the local community enjoy and love the wood. The strength of feeling has been overwhelming.

"It's been a wonderful coming together."

Lesley explained how the refusal of the plan is 'not the end', rather it is the 'first stage' and campaigners now want to see the land which was at the the centre of proposals be returned to the wood so it is once more part of the wider nature reserve.

This was a sentiment echoed by fellow campaigner, Chris Barnett, councillor for Quarry Bank and Dudley Wood, who stated the next effort of campaigners will be to place the land back in the ownership of Dudley Council.

Lesley continued: "It's been a great joint effort and we would like to thank every person who signed the online and paper petition and enormous thanks to every person who made an objection to the application.

"I am over the moon. It has been a fantastic group effort."

Deputy Leader of Dudley Council, Councillor Judy Foster said: "I am delighted for the people of Dudley and the campaigners who have worked so hard."