A tale of two MPs

This is Sutton Coldfield’s Tory MP campaigning against his own government’s policy on the Green Belt this year.

Sutton MP

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?

Lichfield MP

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.