District Council’s Cabinet report accepts their failed High Court challenge to the Government means less pressure on Green Belt – but Burntwood will lose protection at Coulter Lane.
The report to Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday states: “St Matthews estate is still proposed for release from the Green Belt. This was identified within the Local Plan Strategy and the review of the land identifies that it does not fulfil the purposes of Green Belt. However its release does not result in any allocation of land for housing.”
Tell that to Bloor Homes who want to build 80 dwellings near Coulter Lane! In their response last year they said “This report demonstrates [and] endorses many of the conclusions contained within the evidence produced by the District Council and establishes that the site does not perform an important role in respect of Green Belt purposes.”
In fact the District Council has in at least three reports, the main one being The Green Belt Review 2012, have stated that they want to remove the St Mathews area (E1 on map} out of Green Belt following Government Planning Guidance.
I you want to know what can happen when potential housing land is not protected by Green Belt policies you only have to look at Curborough on the edge of Lichfield. The MP did nothing to protect the countryside here and he’s done nothing to defend Burntwood’s countryside either.
Hammerwich Parish escapes – for now.
The threat to Hammerwich’s Green Belt off the Highfields Road has been lifted this time as the Council are not proposing development on this parcel of Green Belt.
Following on from the High Court action which the District Council lost when it challenged the Secretary of State’s power to overrule the Lichfield District Local Plan the Cabinet are proposing to withdraw all green belt allocations – this time. The report to be considered by the Conservative Cabinet on Tuesday 5th December says: “A further analysis of the housing supply has been undertaken, taking into account any potential windfalls to re-assess the need for Green Belt release.”
Thanks to the Secretary of State overriding local views 750 properties have now been added to the numbers available meaning less pressure on Burntwood’s Green Belt – for now but the Local Plan has to be reviewed again soon in order to respond to the housing needs of Greater Birmingham.
This stage of the process is to go out for public consultation between January 8th and February 19th next year.
On Tuesday Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet will give the go-ahead for the Lichfield City Council’s Neighbourhood Plan to go out for formal consultation followed by a referendum.
This is the final stage in the Neighbourhood Plan legal process. Once the Neighbourhood Plan has been agreed, following a majority vote by all those in the area affected on the Electoral Register, it must be taken into account for any future planning applications. It gives extra protection because it supports local views on what residents want for their area.
You may recall that you were all invited to a public consultation event at the Old Mining College and Burntwood Library on the 4th of November – but that it was cancelled, as was the scheduled meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan Committee this week.
Unfortunately some members of the public, maybe you, missed the cancellation notices and turned up. Let us hope the Town Council will apologise for the wasted journeys – even if they don’t apologise for the delays in giving Burntwood the Neighbourhood Plan it needs to help protect its local environment.
or probably not.
Driving along Cannock Road in Burntwood (at about 26 mph) I noticed the leaves had gone from in front of what is supposed to be a safety camera installed to deter speeding motorists in Burntwood. Well credit where it is due, I thought, when I get back I must thank the Police and Crime Commissioner and/or Lichfield District Council’s Parks dept.
On the return journey (27 mph) it was clear they had nothing to do with it! It was Mother Nature that had provided a clear view for the camera. Neither Staffordshire’s Tory Police and Crime Commissioner or the Tory District Council have done anything to make Burntwood’s Road safer.
If this is one of the cameras on 3000 miles of roads (excluding Stoke On Trent) that is switched on then it’s only going to work between November and March or April each year!
Whilst Community Speed Watch volunteers in Burntwood give their time (and risk some abuse) trying to make our roads safer in Chasetown, Chase Terrace and Boney Hay Staffordshire Police admit they only have 5% of their cameras switched on.
It might be that there is a camera somewhere in the Burntwood and Hammerwich area that is working but in a reply to the Press Association’s Freedom of Information request last week Staffordshire Police responded to say that only 14 out of their 272 road safety cameras are switched on.
Clearly they are not “switched on” to the benefit of deterrence – unlike the West Midlands Force which has 100% operating. Their Police and Crime Commissioner has reported recently on a 14% reduction in accidents because of this different attitude to road safety. West Mercia has 69% switched on and even Warwickshire has 33% operating. Our Police and Crime Commissioner has not issued a statement or apology.
So we can be pretty sure that this camera on Cannock Road (outside Burntwood Park where children play) is not switched on but if it is then clearly Lichfield District Council, who are responsible for the trees, don’t want anybody being caught there.
Road Safety organisation Brake has commented on this finding and if you want statistics to help you lobby Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner then take a look at their website.