green belt

A Successful Campaign to Protect Burntwood’s Green Belt???

At Lichfield District Council (LDC) Overview & Scrutiny Committee meeting on Tuesday 19th September the Lead Planning Officer Reported on the result of the Consultation on the Local Plan Land Allocations; he stated that the plan to put 80 homes on the Green Belt off Coulter Lane had been removed from the Plan but the Plan still proposed 375 homes East of Burntwood Bypass.

Unfortunately we misinterpreted that statement and believed that the 375 homes he referred to were the 250 homes planned for the site South of Highfields Road, increased to 375 and re-named East of Burntwood Bypass.

Subsequent questioning of the Planning Officer has revealed that the draft revised Plan removes all proposals to build on Burntwood’s Green Belt.

Sincere apologies to members of Burntwood Action Group (BAG) who were sent an email with the wrong information.

BAG welcomes the proposed changes to the Plan and acknowledges that LDC has listened to the thousands of Burntwood residents who opposed plans to build on the Green Belt.

HOWEVER we are not celebrating yet because:
  • the Draft Revised Plan has to be ratified by LDC Cabinet and Full Council.
  • a revision to the Plan is already scheduled for 2018-19.
  • LDC is under pressure to accommodate some of Birmingham’s housing allocation.
  • until poorly situated Industrial brownfield sites, in the middle of Burntwood’s housing, are re-sited to appropriate sites on the periphery of Burntwood and the land re-allocated to housing our Green belt will continue to be under threat.
Please help us maintain the pressure on the Council by joining us (as spectators) at:
  • LDC Cabinet meeting Tuesday 7th November 6:00 p.m. LDC Offices, Frog Lane, Lichfield.
  • LDC Full Council Meeting Tuesday 19th December 6:00 p.m. LDC Offices
(No commitment other than support of our mission to protect Burntwood’s Green Belt)
BAG Public Meeting 8:00 p.m. Wednesday 15th November  St. Matthews Club
This meeting is planned to:
  • bring Burntwood residents up to date with the current situation.
  • outline what is required to move forward.
  • Inform residents about the Better Burntwood Group and facilitate the formation of a Better Burntwood Committee.
Burntwood Neighbourhood Plan
Based on the outcomes of numerous public consultations Burntwood Town Council commissioned the production of the Plan and representatives of BAG have provided a significant input to the latest draft. It now provides a realistic yet ambitious vision for the future of Burntwood.
The Plan is scheduled to go out for Public Consultation on Saturday 4th November (between 10:00hrs & 14:00hrs) at the Old Mining College, Chasetown and Burntwood Library. Please go along and leave some feedback.
Burntwood Town Deal
This brings together representatives of Lichfield District Council, Staffordshire County Council, Burntwood Town Council, Developers and other interested/influential parties.
BAG’s Chairman attended their meeting on 15th September and is pleased to report that the Group’s objectives are very closely aligned to the wider vision of BAG to:
  1. provide a town centre development which improves the Town’s retail offer.
  2. improve health facilities.
  3. provide the appropriate housing mix for the Town, which allows older people to keep their independence and allows family size properties to be better utilised.
  4. provide better transport links
  5. exploit the opportunities for leisure, health improvement, tourism and business opportunities presented by the close proximity of Chasewater.
From that meeting it was noted that:
  1. the proposed Greenwood House Health Centre is now very close to being signed off – with a forecasted completion date of 2019.
  2. investigations are underway, with an organisation called Back the Track, to convert the disused rail link between Chasewater and Lichfield to a footpath/cycle track. The site of the old Hammerwich Station would be Burntwood’s closest access point.
  3. there is constructive movement to develop the Blue Hoarding site by Morrisons.
Thank you all for your continued support
Vic Chamberlain, BAG Chairman <[email protected]>

Become a member of the Burntwood Action Group to help support our work. Just click here to join.

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Become a Burntwood Action Group Member, online.

As mentioned recently we need now to prepare for our representations to the Government Inspector’s Hearings. For this, we’ll need to collect evidence of the opposition support.

If you can’t print our slip, we now also have an online form to fill in. This will add you as a member, and strengthen our argument against the proposals.

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Michael Fabricant MP backs our call for a Better Burntwood, not Bigger.

Thank-you to everyone who has downloaded and printed the response form. Don’t forget, there is a real threat to these Green Belt areas, so do sign and return the resident response letter. Further details can be found here.

Today our plan to build a Better, not Bigger Burntwood, has received backing from Michael Fabricant. Speaking to our very own Peter Button and Lisa Farrington, Mr Fabricant was impressed with our plans to use brownfield sites, protect the greenbelt and help to shape a more successful Burntwood – rather than a much bigger one.

He stated that..

I very much welcomed the meeting with the groups – it was very constructive. I was very impressed with their holistic approach for the area taking into account housing needs, the need to preserve green belt, the use brownfield sites wherever possible, and the creation of a new shopping heart for Burntwood.

The action groups’ plans involve land swaps which could result in the redevelopment of Sankey’s Corner as a major new shopping heart combined with a new road which would enable the part of Cannock Road by the shopping area to be pedestrianised. In turn this would provide a link with the current commercial development planned immediately south of Cannock Road.

Their plans also involve moving the health centre for housing redevelopment and moving it closer to Morrisons. Most of the additional housing required for Burntwood would be provided on existing and disused industrial land.

Read the full report on Lichfield Live.

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Burntwood Action Group – Press Release

Press release from Burntwood Action Group regarding Lichfield District Council Cabinet Meeting 7th March 2017

“A Better not Bigger Burntwood”

Quoting these words from a concerned Burntwood resident Councillor Helen Fisher ended her impassioned address to the Cabinet of Lichfield District Council at their Meeting on Tuesday evening (7th March).

Following an equally impassioned address from Hammerwich Councillor Doug Pullen, Cllr Fisher was trying to persuade her Cabinet colleagues to modify the Local Plan Land Allocations document before it was put out for public consultation at the end of March.

Councillor Fisher stated that she was representing the views of the many Burntwood residents who had emailed her and the 900 who had signed a “Protect our Green Belt” petition demanding that the Allocations document should not plan to destroy attractive Green Belt sites when dilapidated, underused Brownfield sites, could house all the homes which Burntwood will need in the foreseeable future.

She went on to say “There are many common threads running through the emails I’ve been sent including the obvious infrastructure issues, road condition, traffic & speeding problems, local parking restrictions, lack of shops, worries about school places & traffic issues around schools, wildlife & environment issues, sewerage & drainage problems BUT the one that everyone mentions is that we are being let down by our lack of health care provision. It can take at least 2/3 weeks to get to get a doctor’s appointment and when you do get one some people are missing them because they can’t park!”

When questioned about the efforts made to bring one large Brownfield site forward for housing one of the Planning Officer’s hesitant response made it clear that minimal effort had been made. Residents now assume that Planners have succumbed to pressure from developers and taken the easy option of taking land out of the Green Belt instead.

In response to Councillor Fisher’s question about the number of new homes (1350) planned for Burntwood. Planning Officers stated that they were sticking rigidly to numbers determined in the Local Plan Strategy (2015). They stated that Burntwood, being a sustainable settlement will: “have to accept this number and Green Belt will have to be allocated if enough previously used land cannot be found.” Burntwood Action Group feels that this rigidity is ridiculous when there are many other suitable Brownfield sites throughout Lichfield District which are more sustainable than the site, close to Christ Church, Burntwood, which the Allocations plan proposes to remove from the Green Belt.

Councillor Fisher’s motion to modify the Local Plan Allocations document before putting it out to public consultation was defeated by 5 votes to 2.

Burntwood Action group is now planning how it can best help residents respond to the Consultation at the end of March. It is determined to show that there is sufficient previously used land to accommodate all the houses which Burntwood needs and persuade many thousands of residents to oppose plans to build houses on attractive Green Belt. It feels confident that a huge majority of Burntwood residents want a better not bigger Burntwood.

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A request to Burntwood Town Council

Following the Burntwood Town Council Meeting on Thursday 26th January, Burntwood Action Group has issued the following..

 

STATEMENT/REQUEST FROM BURNTWOOD ACTION GROUP

Madam Chairman, Councillors

Burntwood Action Group, on behalf of the resident of Burntwood, seek Burntwood Town Councils help in preventing Lichfield District Councils planned serious loss of substantial areas of “greenbelt” in Coulter Lane and Highfields Road, to housing.

The LDC Local Plan – July 2012 allocated 1350 homes to be built on “brownfield land” in Burntwood over approximately 20 years.

Unfortunately now the LDC Plan Allocations document [ which is now in the public domain] has identified a shortfall of 694 homes.

This is largely because of the apparent inability to bring forward the planned homes on the brownfield site at Mount Road Industrial Estate.

Burntwood Action Group are fully aware that the LDC Allocation document does not go out for public consultation until the end of March/early April.

However prior to the consultation process commencing, the Allocations Consultation document is to be approved by the LDC Cabinet and the LDC Council

In this respect we believe that our Councillors can make representations at the forthcoming Lichfield District Council Cabinet and at the LDC Council meetings to modified the document prior the commencement of the consultation.

On the grounds that any building on greenbelt is unacceptable as it’s totally against Burntwood Town Council’s stated policy.

This is further reinforced by continued lack of infer-structure in Burntwood.
In particular our local Schools are full to capacity, Our Health Centres are not coping, and our roads are totally inadequate to cater for the current traffic and our Sewage/`drainage systems are operating at capacity.

Further more the proposed building of homes on greenbelt land, will be very detrimental the local fauna & flora, as outlined on Burntwood Action Groups website.

But more importantly any building on “greenbelt its totally against the wishes of Burntwood’s residents

Burntwood Action Group are so concerned with the current threat, that we have requested a meeting with the Leader of the Council and the Chairman of the Planning Committee.

This is in order to ensure they fully understand the implications of the LDC Allocations document and the weight of public feeling to the proposed green belt development.

Burntwood Action Group believe It’s worth noting that 2 of Burntwood Town Councillor make up 25% of the LDC Cabinet and that 14 of our Councillors serve on the Lichfield District Council. This means that Burntwood is well represented at both levels in the District Council to ensure that the wishes of the Burntwood’s residents are properly represented.

Our Councillors should also note, that reports in the National Press are indicating, that Government Ministers are preparing to abandon plans to release greenbelt land for housing

Burntwood Action Group will again be campaigning to save Burntwood’s greenbelt and to that end we have called a public meeting to be held on Tuesday 31st January. It would be nice to be able to advise concerned residence at that meeting that we had the support of Burntwood Town Council and that Councillors have undertaken to be pro-active all levels within the Town and District Councils.

We appeal to our Town Council not to allow Burntwood to sleepwalk into this unwanted significant erosion of our precious greenbelt. If we do, we all will be responsible for loosing a major part of Burntwood’s unique character.

We look forward to confirmation of your support

Thank you.

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Tuesday 31st January – Join us and learn more

Anyone interested in learning more and possibly joining our renewed campaign please come to the PUBLIC MEETING at:

St Matthews Social Club on Tuesday 31st January 7.30 p.m.

A draft of Lichfield District Council (LDC)’s Local Plan Allocations document is now in the public domain. Extracts of the parts relevant to Burntwood and its Green Belt are printed below. Sites highlighted in brown were previously industrial land and those in green are on land which LDC proposes to take out of the Green Belt.

Policy B1: Burntwood Housing Land Allocations

Along with the Strategic Development Allocations identified within the Local Plan Strategy the following sites, shown on the adopted local plan policies map, are allocated for residential development within the Plan period, subject to the ‘Key Development Considerations’ set out below. ‘Key Development Considerations’ are not all encompassing, other matters may arise during the planning application process that applicants will need to address.


Changes to the Green Belt boundary will be made to the south of Burntwood to accommodate the residential allocation (Site B14) to assist in meeting the housing requirement for Burntwood.

Changes to the Green Belt boundary will be made to remove the St Matthews estate from the Green Belt, as set out in Policy Burntwood 1: Burntwood Environment (Local Plan Strategy) and accommodate residential allocations (Site B15) to assist in meeting the housing requirement for Burntwood.

Site B14 (Burntwood 14): Land south of Highfields Road

Site area (Ha): 11.8
Approximate dwelling yield: 250

The site is currently in agricultural use and is located to the south of Burntwood immediately adjacent to residential development on its northern and western boundaries. To the south of the site is the M6 Toll which provides a significant barrier between Burntwood and the major urban area. To the west of the site beyond Burntwood Bypass is Chasewater Country Park.

Key development considerations:

The SFRA identifies that the site is adjacent to areas of high flood risk (Flood Zone 2 & 3) although the site itself is in Flood Zone 1. Consequently consideration and implementation of suitable measures to manage the potential impacts of flooding and to manage surface water run off.

Potential ecological impacts should be considered due to the greenfield nature of the site and its proximity to designated sites.

Potential measures to mitigate the impacts of road noise from the M6 Toll to the south of the site.

Scheme should be designed to take account of the edge of settlement location and manage the transition from urban to rural. Areas of open space to the south of the site will remain within the Green Belt and must be designed to maintain the openness of the Green Belt.

Site B15 (Burntwood 15): Land east of Coulter Lane, St Matthews 

Site area (Ha): 3.3
Approximate dwelling yield: 80

The site is primarily in agricultural use and is located between to the built up area of St Matthews estate to the east and Coulter Lane to the west.

Key development considerations:

Potential ecological impacts should be considered due to the greenfield nature of the site and its proximity to designated sites.

Scheme should be designed to take account of the edge of settlement location and manage the transition from urban to rural.

Tree preservation orders within the site boundary will need to be considered and accommodated within the design of any proposals.

Summary of the development of the Local Plan over the past 5 years and our concerns:

  • The Inspector of the Local Plan Strategy asked for changes to the Plan to meet the need for additional homes. This resulted in the number of new homes planned for Burntwood (in period 2008 – 2029) to be increased to 1350. Allowing for homes already built and those being built or planned there is a shortfall of 656 homes (Total shortfall for District: 1827).
  • LDC commissioned a Supplement to the Green Belt Review to find sites for the additional homes. This Supplement divided all the Green Belt around existing settlements into parcels of land and assessed each one, for their importance to the Green Belt, against certain criteria. Of the nine parcels around Burntwood all were classed as important except one: Burntwood E1, the parcel bordered by Coulter Lane, Nether Lane, Rugeley Road and Church Road.
  • We deemed the criteria to be severely flawed and their application so prejudiced as to make the Review worthless. It appeared to us that the criteria and their application had been written to identify previously chosen land to be classed as being of only moderate importance to the Green Belt. 
  • In our response to the consultation on the Modifications of the Local Plan Strategy we made detailed objections to this Supplement to the Green Belt Review and its use to classify Burntwood E1 as of only moderate importance to the Green Belt
  • In its consultation (Autumn 2016) on the proposed content of its Local Plan Land Allocations document LDC invited interested parties to comment on the proposals. In the list of “Issues to be addressed by that document was: “Consideration of Green Belt boundaries including the integration of the developed area of the former St Mathews hospital into Burntwood and development needs beyond the plan period.” 
  • Linking these two items in one sentence led us to believe that LDC would use its questionable assessment of parcel of land Burntwood E1 as of only moderate importance to the Green Belt to remove it from the Green Belt. We responded to that consultation, again pointing out the flawed Supplement to the Green Belt Review and stressing the importance which residents of the old Burntwood village attached to the role of that land in maintaining the rural aspect of Burntwood. We also stressed how the surrounding infrastructure would not cope with a large development in the area. 
  • Most of the respondents to that consultation were developers promoting particular sites for housing development. Bloor Homes used the assessment of parcel Burntwood E1 as part of its argument for taking the land between the St Matthews estate and Fulfen School/ Fulfen Farm out of the Green Belt. They provided detailed plans for 80 homes on the St Matthews side of Coulter Lane and 400 homes on the western side. The 80 homes appear in the draft Land Allocations document and the document could try to ‘safeguard’ the land west of Coulter Lane for the 400 homes in the future.

If, like us, you don’t want that to happen join us on 31st January at St Matthews Social Club or indicate your interest by email: [email protected]

www.burntwoodactiongroup.co.uk

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What the building of houses could do to our local wildlife

In Burntwood alone there is a wide variety of wildlife ranging from badgers to raptors (Birds of prey). The building of these houses would cause a noticeable decline in these species. This is because Burntwood is a prime spot for mammal species to live and create a habitat in. These mammal species would include insectivores like hedgehogs, shrews and moles. But also voles, badgers, red foxes, mice and lagomorphs (hares and rabbits) would be affected. All of these mammals would see a noticeable decline in numbers if the houses are built because of the destruction of their habitat which is fields, woodland as well as your garden environments.

Following this destruction of mammal habitats you would see a significant decline in birds of prey because the fields that harbour these mammals would be lost. These fields are prime hunting grounds for birds of prey, and because their food source would disappear, so would they. Locally the birds of prey would include buzzards, kestrels, tawny owls, barn owls, goshawks and sparrow hawks but you would get many more birds that would be affected like lap wings for example.

I personally have had the privilege of watching kestrels nesting and rearing their young and also seeing the chicks successfully fledge. A lot of the wildlife I have listed is either vulnerable, declining or some endangered and these houses, if built, would be catastrophic to the numbers of these beautiful creatures and it needs to be stopped!

By stopping the houses being built you are helping to keep and conserve the local wildlife and green belt which is really something to be proud of and something that should be treasured for our future generations.

Please take time to view our photos on the website as this beautiful countryside, with all its trees, is what we may lose!

From Charley Scattergood (age 14)

Please support us! (Burntwood Action Group. B.A.G)

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