It’s hard to believe but last night the Conservative Group on Burntwood Town Council reneged on the agreement that the then Leader of the Council, Helen Fisher, gave to Labour members that they would be able to replace their representative who was elected two years ago but who has resigned for family reasons.
In 2015 Chasetown residents voted for all three Labour candidates for the Town Council and the Conservative Leader said that the Labour Group could replace him with another candidate to be co-opted on to the Council and avoid the cost of a by-election.
The Conservatives went back on that agreement and have co-opted one of their fellow district Councillors, Norma Bacon, who represents Leamonsley Ward on Lichfield City Council and Curborough Ward on Lichfield District Council!
The same councillor who had supported £3/4 million a year of taxpayers’ money – including Chasetown taxpayers’ money, subsidising the Lichfield Garrick and who voted for the maximum amount of Council Tax the District could charge just a few weeks ago!
And what were her main qualification for the honour of representing Chasetown? Well she said she had been Chairman of Lichfield District Council, Mayor of Lichfield City Council, Sheriff of Lichfield City Council – clearly all excellent reasons for representing Chasetown Ward without having to ask Chasetown residents!
Her Lichfield City Council Register of Interests on Lichfield City Council’s website has her address in Dimbles Lane, Lichfield but her Register of Interests for Lichfield District have her living in High Street, Chasetown on their website.
With this confusion will she remember which way to vote: for Lichfield or for Burntwood? Which Planning Committee will she choose to attend on the 20th of July – the one at Burntwood Town Council or the one at Lichfield City Council – she can’t be at both.
Since then copper pipes have been stolen, the building used for police dog training (ironically the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner was the then Cabinet member for Social Care and Health behind this publicity stunt), bats had to be dealt with and the building is likely to be demolished.
And here it is today.
Burntwood residents voted for two new health centres following consultation but when the LibDem Conservative Coalition came in these were cancelled and our Conservative MP has done nothing to lobby the NHS or the Clinical Commissioning Group to get them back! Sorry Lichfield’s MP has done nothing etc..
This is Sutton Coldfield’s Tory MP campaigning against his own government’s policy on the Green Belt this year.
He told the Birmingham Mail: “This drives a horse and cart through the Government’s commitment to localism it suggests the Secretary of State is not to be trusted when he says his commitment to the green belt is sacrosanct…”
Contrast this with Burntwood’s MP who has not attended a public meeting or issued a single word objecting to Lichfield District Council’s proposal to take out two parcels of Green Belt around the town to accommodate developer proposals.
Hold on! Isn’t our MP campaigning against the government in this picture?
Well no. This was in June 2008 and it was the Labour Government looking at “eco village” sites in the country so naturally , as it was near Lichfield (it was Curborough) and as it was a Labour Government our MP was against it!
Ironically, it was the same Secretary of State who recently overruled the Planning Inspector and Lichfield District’s Local Plan (which was supported by the High Court) to allow 750 houses to be built at the same spot – but not a squeak out of our Conservative MP.
He can’t bring himself to support Burntwood’s residents against his Government and that’s why he wouldn’t attend the Burntwood Action Group (BAG) meeting recently. Okay his excuse was that he had an appointment in London but of course you fit a meeting around your Member of Parliament and in any case he is too busy trying to get his close friend, Andy Street, elected as West Midlands mayor to spend time in Burntwood.
All credit to Lichfield District Council’s Conservative Leader who did attend and who, just for the record, is the only Conservative Leader at Lichfield District to have attended Burntwood Town Council meetings when run by Labour and run by Conservative administrations. His Deputy and Cabinet member responsible for the Local Plan also attended, listened to residents and answered questions.
Planning guidance for the naive.
The Government of the day sets the planning guidance which local councils have to follow and this government, particularly with the publication of the Housing White Paper is giving priority to “sustainable” development over the Green Belt. That’s why the Conservative Cabinet is proposing to realise Green Belt land at St Mathews and off Highfields Road for Housing.
If that wasn’t enough stick, the carrot is that the council will get money, the New Homes Bonus at the same time as the Government Grant falls to zero by 2020.
Staffordshire County Council had said that they considered the flooding in High Street in Chasetown “not be a high risk to the public” despite cars driving on the wrong side of the road to avoid an unknown problem under the water.
Labour’s candidate for Burntwood South County Division which covers Chasetown, Steve Norman, submitted a Freedom of Information request because he says, “The County Council’s highways division does not respond to normal channels of communication requests like emails.”.
Councils and other bodies are supposed to respond within 20 working days but even when he gave them some extra time they have still not replied and he is taking a formal complaint to the Information Commissioner if the County Council still fails to comply with the law on Freedom of Information requests.
Steven said: “Because the Highways section was suggestion that the High Street flooding was not urgent and it had to wait for other ‘similar work’ in the area he asked for justification for this.
He asked: “When is the latest date that the work will be carried out? The contractors have said the work ‘will be grouped with similar works in the area.’
What is the ‘area’ referred to, how many similar works are there currently and where are they?”
He has said that he will make the other repairs needed for High Street his priority if elected on Thursday.