Inspection of Lichfield District Council’s Local Plan Allocations Hearing Statement from Burntwood Action Group (BAG)

As you will know from our previous post Lichfield District Council’s plan for development in our area is due to be examined by a government appointed inspector starting on the 4th of September and lasting for 2 weeks. During this period the inspector will read submissions and hear from interested parties, including those developers who wish to continue building on the Green Belt around Burntwood.

Burntwood Action Group will be attending LDC’s council chambers during the examination period – we have requested the opportunity to speak – and we have provided a summary statement, which is also copied below for your information and comment:

BAG has 250 members and its 16 committee members represent most areas of Burntwood. By ‘liking’ our posts on facebook 388 people have shown their support for our statements regarding the protection of the Green Belt and our input to driving forward improvements to Burntwood’s infrastructure and amenities. BAG also represents the views, on Burntwood’s Green Belt, of 2500 residents of Burntwood who responded to the Consultation on the above document.
Our submission in objection to the original draft was in great detail and this brief note aims to clarify our position. We supported the Focused Changes to the Plan as it abandoned plans for housing development in the Green Belt.
In the late 1950s the land now referred to as Burntwood Town was chosen by Lichfield District Council to house “Birmingham overspill.” Infill between the villages of Chase Terrace, Chasetown, Boney Hay and Burntwood, coupled with outward sprawl has resulted in the, confusingly named, conurbation called Burntwood. To confuse matters further a town centre called Burntwood Town Centre was created at Sankey’s Corner in Chase Terrace, a mile from the shopping centre at Burntwood village.
That Town Centre has never provided the facilities required by this ever-expanding urban sprawl. Other than cheaper housing than Lichfield, the main attraction of Burntwood is its green surroundings. Burntwood has already been allowed to grow beyond the limit which can be supported by its infrastructure and the majority of its residents commute outwards for work, shopping, leisure activities and complex health needs.

The Inspector of the Local Plan Strategy recognised that: (para 236) “It is undoubtedly the case that there are a number of constraints at Burntwood – such as its limited range and level of services, the proximity of the Cannock Chase AONB, the possibility of coalescence with the West Midlands conurbation to the south and with villages such as Hammerwich to the south east – and these are not likely to change over time.”
Developers are now trying to justify their plans for housing development in Burntwood’s Green Belt with the argument that an increased population is required to make improvements of Burntwood Town Centre viable. BAG maintains that, in its current state, Burntwood is not sustainable as a freestanding settlement due to its large population and inadequate facilities and infrastructure. The Local Plan Strategy is wrong in identifying Burntwood as a most sustainable settlement and BAG will be pursuing that argument through the review of the Plan.

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