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A Labour candidate for the forthcoming county council elections has accused the Conservatives in Burntwood of taking their eye off the ball over plans to build on Green Belt land.
Lichfield District Council has earmarked sites in the town to accommodate new homes in the future.
But Steve Norman, who was previously head of the Neighbourhood Plan Committee on Burntwood Town Council, said local representatives had failed to get their house in order in time to fight the area’s corner.
“There was an almost year-long delay with the Neighbourhood Plan when the Conservatives won control of the Town Council in May 2015 and in the meantime the district council were looking at housing sites in the Green Belt,” said Mr Norman, who will contest the Burntwood South seat.
“The Government’s rules state that neighbourhood plans and orders should not promote less development than set out in the Local Plan or undermine its strategic policies.
“Lichfield District Council’s Strategic Housing Land Assessment accepts that the Green Belt sites do not wholly comply with current development plan polices in the Local Plan, but the reality is we are up against Conservative Planning policy at both National and Local Plan levels and the delays have not helped Burntwood.”
Current Labour representatives on Burntwood Town Council have also criticised progress on the area’s neighbourhood plan, claiming progress has “completely stalled”.
But Cllr Helen Fisher, leader of the Conservative controlling group on the town council, denied her group had not fought against the plans for development in the Green Belt.
She said: “Anyone who attended the recent Cabinet meeting at Lichfield District Council will have seen how vociferously I have defended the Green Belt, particularly around Burntwood, and I have since been thanked publicly by Burntwood Action Group for my efforts.
“Unfortunately this politicised attack by Labour looks like nothing more than desperation prior to some important local elections.”
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