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Lichfield campaigners claim housebuilding plans are out of date

Lichfield campaigners have claimed the thinking behind new house building in the region is out of date.

Much of Lichfield District Council’s plan for 8,000 new homes between 2006 and 2026 is based on the regional spatial strategy – a document which is set to be abandoned in the near future.

The decision to scrap the regional overview came after the coalition government announced that the decision would lie with local communities instead.

However, the Lichfield Alliance – a group made up of a number of local campaign organisations – is preparing a joint submission in the lead up to the closure of the current consultation on February 28.

A spokesman for the Alliance said:

“We are increasingly concerned at the council’s continued reliance on the regional spatial strategy to justify largescale development, particularly when it has now been given a clear mandate from the government to think afresh about what is appropriate for this community.

“Much of the evidence on which the regional strategy is based is now over two years old and quite clearly does not reflect the current economic or market conditions, which are unprecedented.  These affect all of the assumptions which have been made regarding affordability, household formation and the migration patterns upon which the estimated demand was based – and there is a real danger that the need for growth could now be overstated.

“It is unclear whether adequate employment can be delivered in an area already dominated by commuting patterns. Most of the necessary infrastructure to deal with existing deficiencies and the needs of new development will require funding which has yet to be identified, at present it would appear neither the government nor developers can afford it.

“We fear that we may be facing a ‘perfect storm’ of too many houses, occupied mainly by commuters, too few local jobs and inadequately funded facilities.”

The Alliance are urging residents across Lichfield and Burntwood to have their say on the house-building figures ahead of a deadline at the end of February – a move 1,500 people have already done.

The spokesperson continued:

“We urge everyone to scrutinise the council’s proposals, as we are doing and make their views known.”

Information on the core strategy can be found at www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/corestrategy.

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.