Lichfield councillor rejects claim housing consultation is confusing residents

A councillor has denied claims that a consultation over potential sites for housing developments in Lichfield and Burntwood is confusing residents.

Lichfield District Residents’ Alliance have admitted their concern over the Council’s Call for Sites programme beginning while residents are still awaiting the outcome of the Secretary of State’s decision on the West Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy.

The Alliance’s chairman David Woods had called the Council’s timing “crass”.

He added:

“If Lichfield District Council wish to cause confusion amongst residents they couldn’t go about it in a better way!”

But Cllr Neil Roberts, Cabinet Member for Development, said that the Call for Sites consultation was necessary.

He explained:

“We are also keenly awaiting the outcome of a government report into housing numbers, which is due out in the next few weeks. In advance of this report, it’s crucial we continue work on the district’s Local Development Framework, which will ultimately help to protect local areas from inappropriate development.

“Recently this has included researching any sites that could possibly be used for future development, from green spaces and community uses to industrial and commercial purposes. As part of this we are asking people to let us know if they own any suitable land. People’s feedback will be fed into a public consultation document to be published later in the year.

“A frequently asked questions leaflet has been produced, which explains the process in detail, and contrary to the Lichfield District Resident’s Alliance’s suggestions, we haven’t received any calls from concerned residents.”

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8 Comments

  1. Streethay Swampy

    23rd February, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    Perhaps Cllr Roberts should ask the question “why they haven’t received any calls from concerned residents.”?

    Could it be that it was not generally publised? and it is only the Alliance who tend to pick up on this type of action ….. Why? because they are fighting on behalf of the concerned residents.

  2. david woods

    6th March, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Why are Lichfield District Council Conserative councillors such as Mr Roberts clinging to a Labour government dictat on housing numbers when Conservative Party policy will abolish these centrally imposed targets and allow local people to decide what level of new development is appropriate? As a true Conservatve he should be actively promoting his Party’s policy not meekly responding to Labour policy in anticipation of a Labour victory in the forthcoming General election. Unlike Cllr Roberts we have our ear to the ground and I can assure him that his decision to go ahead at this stage with the ‘call for sites’ not only confuses the issue but gives the impression that Lichfield District Council Conservatives relish the prospect of destroying the character of the District through the excessive building programme they propose.Should the Conservative Party gain power in May Conservative councillors will be diametrically at odds with Conservative government policy and face an alienated electorate at the next local elections.

  3. Asellus aquaticus

    8th March, 2010 at 10:45 am

    I’m sorry, is Mr Woods really saying that local councils should only apply the planning policies of their own party, irrespective of the existing statutory planning regulations of the time?

    I’m not a planning expert, so stand to be corrected, but would that not open the doors to unscrupulous developers to more or less to do what they like, because the Council wouldn’t have a legally sound planning framework?

  4. David Woods

    8th March, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Asellus aquaticus – not a pretty name- has mistaken my point. Clearly the Council is working under the present planning constraints, but gives every impression of welcoming centrally imposed housing targets rather than looking to the expressed needs of the local residents. With the General Election so close, and published Conservative Party planning policy so clear on the abolition of such targets, it would be wise to ‘make haste slowly’ with matters such as the ‘Call for Sites’ until the outcome of the election is known.

  5. Andy

    8th March, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    David , by “expressed needs of local residents” do you really mean the needs of you and your group and by “ear to the ground” do actually mean you’ve spoken to people who’ve approached your group? When you say “destroy the character” of the dirstrict to do you really mean they’re doing something you and your group doesn’t like?

    You also seem to have completely ignored the possibility that the council might well simply agree with the targets imposed for the district and if, after a Conservative election victory were free to decide for themselves would build the same number of houses anyway.

  6. Asellus aquaticus

    8th March, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I do see David Wood’s point (and I’m sorry he finds my moniker unattractive) although I’m not sure I agree that a consultation attempting to understand what land is or is not available for development is quite the same thing as expressing an intent to pursue centrally imposed housing targets.

    Moreover, what if the Conservatives do not win the general election? Then Lichfield District Council would be open to arguably justifiable accusations of inactivity or indecisiveness. They can’t really win here, can they?

  7. Adam

    10th March, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Asellus aquaticus is a freshwater crustacean resembling a woodlouse. It is known by many common names including “waterlouse”, “aquatic sowbug” and “water hoglouse”. Common throughout the temperate zone including Europe, Russia, and North America, Asellus aquaticus is found in rivers, streams and standing water particularly where there are plenty of stones under which it hides although not where the water is strongly acidic. It is omnivorous and relatively tolerant of a range of pollutants and has been used as an indicator of water quality.

  8. Asellus aquaticus

    10th March, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    That’s me. Often referred to as a “water slater” too. You missed that one.