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Views on planning applications are rarely being taken into account by council, Lichfield Civic Society claims

A community group created to protect the city’s character has claimed Lichfield District Council rarely takes account of its views.

The offices of Lichfield District Council. Pic: Lichfield District Council

The offices of Lichfield District Council. Pic: Lichfield District Council

Lichfield Civic Society made the claim after the resignation of a Conservative councillor in a row over the way planning guidelines were being followed.

Joanne Grange, who represented the controlling Conservative group in the Stowe ward, claimed the council had opened the door for inappropriate developments by going against its own planning guidelines and strategies.

A spokesperson for Lichfield Civic Society said it recognised some of the concerns raised by the outgoing councillor about the way residents’ views are heard in the planning process.

“Lichfield Civic Society comments on many planning applications,” they said. “But rarely do we find that our views are taken into account.

“We shall continue to try and influence decisions on planning applications in an effort to stem the tide of mediocracy faced by the city.”

The society added that the voices of residents needed to be heard more than ever as the city faced up to an uncertain future in terms of major developments.

They said: “We need vigilance on the future of Friarsgate. Remember, the council is about to launch a review of the Local Plan when we will be faced with yet more major housing proposals.

“Residents views on the scale, character and location of new development will need proper consideration.”

Lichfield District Council has been approached for comment.

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  1. Steve

    2nd August, 2018 at 10:32 am

    “We shall continue to try and influence decisions on planning applications in an effort to stem the tide of mediocracy faced by the city.”

    Totally describes what is happening.

  2. Philip Allso

    2nd August, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    The Civic Society are the true watchdogs for the city. Well informed and sensible in preserving the heritage of the city, but not without an eye to the future. What is said in the article is absolutely correct and anyone having to deal with the council officers and planning committee would say the same. Too often the individual applicant has full support even when there is substantial opposition. And, while the applicant has right of appeal, those against do not. They seem unaware that some developments are inappropriate and impact badly on existing communities. It invariably comes down to the opinion of an officer who recommends approval to the committee because he/she does not think it unreasonable. This in spite of considerable opposition. The whole system is flawed and is not based on good democratic principles. What a mess Lichfield council has become.

  3. nellygb

    2nd August, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    This is taken from the SSLEP City Deal and Growth Deal Programme Board Business Case Approval (2016) For the 5.4m of funding to the Friarsgate development scheme. The only money I believe was secured towards the project.

    “The development will help provide new housing and this, combined with the new infrastructure which will in turn help to support the rapid growth in housing in Lichfield that is planned, will help meet the needs of this area and other local authorities within the SSLEP area via the Duty to Cooperate regime. Over 10,000 new houses are planned to be built within Lichfield District up to 2026 and this may increase if the District is required to take further housing numbers.”

    and from their involvement with the GBSLEP

    “….In addition, it is also likely that Lichfield, under its duty to cooperate with neighbouring districts, will be required to accommodate future housing growth to meet the needs from Birmingham”

    If you look deeper in to the two enterprise partnerships you can see one or two familiar names from LDC, both councillors and officers regularly pop up.

    So as I see it Lichfield Civic Society can ready themselves for some massive action if they want to stop the land earmarked for the Friarsgate development becoming just another housing estate.