On Tueday, 19th September, in addition to the Lichfield Local Plan progress and the Brownfield Site Register, item 7 (page 52) of the Economic Growth, the Environment and Development (Overview and Scrutiny) Committee Agenda has the result of the Housing Allocations Consultation – including the possible loss of Green Belt in Burntwood.
About 5000 representations were received by the District Council between 20th March and 12th of May 2017 – with a few received after the deadline.
Although no decisions on the sites will be made on the night – apart to support the recommendation that the current Green Belt proposals are reviewed after the result of a High Court judgement is known – it will be interesting see what questions are asked of officers and Cabinet members.
Legal challenge to Secretary of State
The District Council has challenged the Conservative Secretary of State over his approval for 750 houses at Watery Lane, Curborough even though this meant that he overrode the Local Plan which had gone through public consultation and supported by the Planning Inspector. The written judgement is still awaited and has a two edged sword.
If the High Court finds for the District Council then the Local Plan is intact and will proceed as planned with the threat to the Green Belt. However, if the Court sides with the Secretary of State then that’s 750 houses (at least – it won’t stop there) not needed on Green Belt land and so may benefit Burntwood.
LPA 300 representation by former Councillor, Steve Norman, makes the point albeit from a purely selfish Burntwood perspective:
Object to the use of Green Belt land for housing unless there are exceptional circumstances where the district and neighbours cannot accommodate more houses required. Curborough is not in Green Belt, is sustainable according to the Secretary of State and so can lessen the pressure on the Green Belt which must take priority.
Who has and who hasn’t bothered to make representation?
Lichfield District Council Labour Group’s submission is:
- Opposes development within Green Belt, in particular sites B14 and B15.
- Do not believe there is any justification for sites at Coulter Lane and Highfields Road to be considered as ‘exceptional circumstances.
- Burntwood suffers from lack of infrastructure investment. Services have not followed development. Burntwood community is overwhelmingly opposed to any reduction of its valued Green Belt.
- Do not believe all brownfield sites within the District have been considered or that evidence showing brownfield sites to be ‘unsustainable’ has not been provided or tested. Urge all brownfield sites to be thoroughly investigated before allocations are made on Green Belt.
- Labour Group believe what is exception about these two sites is the controversy and opposition, including cross-Party opposition, that they have received.
- Argue the impact of the proposals in Burntwood is disproportionate and totally unacceptable. There is no guarantee that any planning gain monies would address the current problems, let alone possible future problems.
- Believe sites B14 and B15 would probably become commuter areas, adding little to the community life in the town while adding to the pressures on its services.
One latecomer (at least he did lobby for his electors even though it was too late to be included in the formal responses) was the MP for Tamworth.
Our Member of Parliament (Salary: £76.011, expenses: £24,000 for 2016-17) has done nothing again. In fact he claims he cannot get involved in planning issues – unless it is a Labour Government of course.