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Birmingham has been warned off attempting to annex Lichfield in order to meet its housing needs. There have been growing fears that the district could be use as overspill to enable the neighbouring authority to hit a target for new properties. In 2013, Birmingham City Council deputy leader Ian Ward warned of a shortfall of 30,000 houses in its building programme if it did not explore “other options”.
Mike Wilcox
But Lichfield District Council leader Mike Wilcox has said the local authority will not be bullied into giving up Green Belt land. He said: “We’re keen to remain as an area with the parcels of Green Belt that enable us to keep Lichfield within the city area. “We don’t welcome unwanted approaches by Birmingham. Ultimately, we’re the planning  authority for this area and we will make the planning decisions.” Cllr Wilcox said Lichfield did not have the space to accomodate new homes for other areas if it hoped to meet its own housebuilding targets. And he stressed that Birmingham should look elsewhere for the answers to its housing issues. “We’re looking to build 10,500 or so over next 20 years – and that’s just houses for our own needs without taking on anyone else’s shortage,” he said. “The trouble is that when they create jobs in Birmingham – and these often well-paid, white collar jobs – that the people who take that want to live in leafy Lichfield because the connectivity here is so good. “But my message to Birmingham City Council leader Sir Albert Bore when I’ve met with him is that they need to make sure they have no more land of their own to build on. “If there isn’t then they need to look at other areas like Worcestershire and Warwickshire where there are lots of open spaces that are not Green Belt and are ideal for building on.” Despite his stance, Cllr Wilcox insisted new homes did need to be built across Lichfield and Burntwood. And he warned that the future was a bleak one if a consistent supply of new developments dries up. “The Government agenda is all about building homes and creating jobs. Do that and they’ll reward you. “Hopefully our Local Plan when it is put in place will give that certainty and confidence for developers to want to build. “We have to ensure there is a balance, but we must build homes because if we don’t get the money the Government offers for home building then we simply won’t survive.”


Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.