Lichfield City residents were clearly divided last week over their Neighbourhood Plan (NP) with one of the closest results ever seen for a Neighbourhood Plan. Most referendums result in a 90% vote in favour, unsurprisingly as the NP is the result of numerous consultation events, with 84% minimum support – until now.
Only 57% voted in favour in Lichfield with 43% against with the lowest turnout for a NP in the district.
How will Burntwood’s Neighbourhood Plan be received – if it ever gets to the stage where it can be presented to residents in a referendum?
Other Plans in Lichfield District followed the normal experience in other parts of the country.
Other results in Lichfield District
Whittington and Fisherwick 90% in favour, Stonnall 92% in favour, Shenstone 89% in favour and Little Aston 89% in favour.
Yesterday the High Court confirmed that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government had the power to overrule local residents, the District Council and the Independent Planning Inspector in giving the go-ahead for 750 dwellings near Lichfield.
Whilst Lichfield District Council was able to defend the Local Plan in the High Court against developers in July 2015 it is a different situation now.
The previous blog described the threat to the Local Plan if Lichfield District Council lost the fight although it may mean less pressure on the Green Belt around Burntwood.
Planning Permission for 750 homes in Curborough means 750 are not needed elsewhere – at the moment. But we must not be too relieved in Burntwood because this means the Local Plan could be overruled by the Government again in the future and there is a pack of developers waiting to pounce. In the future, after this initial period, Birmingham still needs land for their population increase.
What is the current situation?
Lichfield District Council officers and Cabinet members are having to consider the judgement and the 5000 representations from residents and developers to the consultation over the Housing Allocation sites two of which are within the current Green Belt boundary.
It has been reported elsewhere that the Coulter Lane site earmarked for 80 dwellings has been taken off the list but that is not so. Officers are still to submit a detailed report to Cabinet – probably on the 5th of December.
Who sent in representations and who didn’t?
You will not be surprised to see that Lichfield’s MP did not write to support the Green Belt in and around Burntwood in the Consultation Report. Of course had it been a Labour Secretary of State he would have asked questions in Parliament and lobbied the District Council but in fact he supports their policies whilst trying to kid protesters in Burntwood that he is on their side!