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Burntwood community group explains Alliance snub

Burntwood Action Group's Save Our Green Belt logo

Burntwood Action Group's Save Our Green Belt logo

A Burntwood community group has been explaining why they refused to be part of a link-up they proposed between groups across the Lichfield district area.

The Lichfield District Residents’ Alliance has seen groups covering Beacon Street area, Borrowcop and District, Hammerwich, Leomansley, Streethay, Fradley and South Lichfield come together to oppose the scale of development proposed in the Core Strategy and Local Development Framework currently being drawn up by Lichfield District Council.

But Burntwood Action Group (BAG) have refused to join the Alliance, citing differences with others involved.

According to the group, they proposed the creation of the Alliance for:

  • Sharing ideas and developing strategies to present a coherent and unified case to Lichfield District Council for the preservation of Lichfield District’s green land.
  • Ensuring that actions taken by member Groups were mutually supportive and never contradictory.

But now the group have questioned the actions of others involved in the Alliance.

A statement on the BAG website said:

“Our decision to withdraw from the Alliance is based solely on the manner in which the new Alliance was set up and is now run. The letter addressed to individual Councillors [by the Alliance], which we counselled against, is toned down from the original draft, but its hostile, dictatorial tone still makes it unlikely to generate a positive response. Also the integrity of the Council Leader is still questioned. We completely disassociate ourselves from this letter.

“Burntwood and Hammerwich Action Group has stayed within the Alliance but will maintain its individuality and will continue to work with us to present a unified front against development on our surrounding green land.

“We are saddened to have left the Alliance in the hands of those who adopt a bludgeoning approach to negotiation. But we give Burntwood people the assurance that we will continue to fight, on their behalf, to keep as much as possible of our surrounding green land. We will always try to lobby for support using well researched and reasoned arguments and welcome any constructive ideas from residents.”

Lichfield District Residents’ Alliance chairman David Woods hit back at the criticism from BAG.

He told The Lichfield Blog:

“We were sorry that Burntwood Action Group decided to leave the Alliance. Their views were out of step with the other seven residents groups comprising the Alliance. If their views change then we would be happy to see them return.

‘The Alliance approach to challenging the excessive and irrational proposal to build 8,000 houses between 2006 and 2026 is not dictatorial – only 3,000 or so are needed for indigenous growth. It is difficult to understand how BAG can pronounce authoratatively on the letter we sent to councillors since they did not see the final draft.”

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  1. Phil

    20th August, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Interesting that the LDRA use the term “indigenous growth”. I wonder if this means they do not welcome settlement in new homes from anyone not already resident in Lichfield District and if this is the case, why not?

    Having heard the word ‘indigenous’ too many times from one Mr Griffin it has negative connotations for me now.

  2. Alice

    20th August, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Indigenous growth is a realistic assessment of local population and natural development. It has no connotation with exclusivity or prejudice in any sense.
    In our context, as Lichfeldians, it is one of the bench-marks that will help to preserve and sustain the special nature of Lichfield as an ancient and beautiful City, and its surrounds. Natural growth and proportionate development blend over time to produce harmony and accentuate the natural beauty and assets of an outstanding City such as Lichfield. We must recognise and cherish such a gift from the past.
    Development of large areas of Lichfield’s surrounds would be inappropriate and harmful. There are recognized ways and means of meeting future needs without destroying the past, for what can only be dubious intentions.

  3. Phil

    20th August, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    So does the 3,000 figure take into account the potential for immigration to Lichfield and it’s surrounding areas and the supposed need for more housing throughout the country?

    Can you clarify what you mean when you say ‘dubious intentions’?

  4. Alice

    20th August, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Lichfield has a right to be accepted as an ancient and thoroughly established city and its nature and character therefore should be perpetuated.

    There must, of course, be some development across the whole range of employment, housing, education and general infrastructure but it should be commensurate with a carefully monitored increase in population. This has to be shared equitably according to the indigenous population needs, plus the inevitable drift of those who wish to share the advantages of living here.

    That is significantly different to the Lichfield District Council approach that could create a population explosion vastly in excess of a natural and steady increase in population and essential support. In other words, Lichfield must take its share of ‘the load’ but that is vastly different to pushing vigorously to take on far more than its share to the point where great increases in population change Lichfield, rather than new residents becoming adopted Lichfieldians. This difference is more than subtle but it is not exclusive, patronising or unreasonable.

    LDC has a duty to the past as well as to the future. Some of the proposed architectural monstrosities, plus the desire to swamp areas with housing, beggar belief. What is actually driving this apparent compulsion? We have not been given a reasonable answer to this; is it because the ruling party in Lichfield DC has such a comfortable majority that it has little sense of accountability to the people it represents?

    There are many of us out here who would like to continue our allegiance but they are making it progressively more difficult. Lichfield DC need to listen and take notice, instead of assuming the high ground is their natural inheritance. They have not scaled the heights, we have put them there!

  5. David Woods

    20th August, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    BAG have displayed a lack of judgment by making selected elements of the personal Alliance letter to Councillors public. The questions we have asked of Councillors are highly relevant to the development of the Core Strategy and Local Development Framework. The issues we have raised are quite legitimate and in no way question the integrety of any Councillor. So far we have had little response from our elected representives, which is disappointing, but we continue to hope they will fairly represent the views of the considerable majority of residents who oppose the irrational level of development proposed when the matter is raised at Council.

  6. Unconcerned Citizen

    20th August, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Firstly i think the numbers of houses required needs looking at –
    3000 for ‘indiginous growth’ or 8000 (taking into account people may want to move here).
    I wonder how these figures were calculated – given the 4 year waiting list for social housing in lichfield.
    (the wait for social housing is linked of course to a lack of affordable housing).

    The high cost of housing (renting or buying) gives a lower disposable income – which of course affects a persons quality of life and has a knock on effect throughout the economy.

    Shelter and food are societies top priorities – not green belt land and ‘heritage status’.