Burntwood’s Green Belt under threat

Burntwood residents have until the 19th of February to object to losing some of our Green Belt.

Lichfield District Council’s Local Plan Consultation still removes the Green Belt boundary

Coulter Lane view
Coulter Lane, Burntwood

from the St Matthews Estate area of Burntwood.  The District Council has removed the Housing Allocation Site either side of Coulter Lane but of course that is only part of the defence against Bloors’ proposal to build 80 homes there.

The biggest protection of all is the Green Belt and if the boundary is removed from this area then objectors will have one hand tied behind their back in the fight against development here.

Just to be clear it will be us against the Secretary of State with our MP hiding in his bunker again!

14.01.18

 

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Green Belt protection to go in Burntwood

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.”

Coulter Lane planTell 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.greenbelt

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.

Background

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.

30.11.17

Lichfield’s Neighbourhood Plan to get go-ahead whilst Burntwood’s “on hold”

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.Lichfield NP

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.

30.11.17

 

Burntwood Green Belt threat – lots of known unknowns

These issues were highlighted at last night’s Scrutiny meeting at Lichfield District Council to discuss the Local Plan, Brownfield Sites and Housing Allocation sites that threaten Burntwood’s Green Belt boundary:

If they lose the High Court action against the Secretary of State regarding the Curborough decision then fewer houses should be needed easing the pressure on the Green Belt – though officers were not fully confident that that would necessarily follow.

If they lose it also means the Local Plan, supported by residents and the Independent Inspector, can be overridden by the Secretary of State – not that Mr Fabricant has shown any concern about this.

apartmentsBirmingham’s housing requirement was also a big unknown not just now but in a few year’s time – the neighbouring districts, including Lichfield, need to find room for 37,900 homes now.

So when will we have the detailed responses to the 5000 representations?

That’s an unknown too.  Officer time is limited and lack of Council funding just adds to the unknowns.  Of course if one group of objectors win their argument and a housing site is deleted from there – it will have to be found elsewhere.  Whilst Tamworth’s MP has supported (belatedly) Shenstone objectors Lichfield’s MP is nowhere – but could be seen on Channel 4 later this year – and is no doubt concentrating on that rather than his electors.

20.09.17

 

 

 

 

 

District Council to look at Housing Allocation Sites consultation on Tuesday.

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.

greenbeltAbout 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.

13.09.17

 

Rob Birch joins the Labour Councillors’ advice surgeries

Councillor, Rob Birch, recently elected to Burntwood Town Council, joins fellow Boney Hay and Central Ward councillor, Di Evans at the Labour Councillors’ Advice Surgeries held from 10am to 11am on the first Saturday in each month at the Library.

2017-07-11 23.10.13Only Burntwood’s Labour representatives hold Advice Surgeries from 10am to 11am on the first Saturday in each month at the Library.  The Conservatives promised to hold advice surgeries in their election leaflets but now can’t be bothered.  Neither does Burntwood’s MP.

Residents from Boney Hay and Central, Chase Terrace and Chasetown Wards can call in on these Saturdays without appointment.  Their elected representatives contact details can be found here.

13.09.17