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Bid by Burntwood Action Group to reopen disused Lichfield to Brownhills railway line as cycle and walking route set to receive Community Infrastructure Levy funding snub

A project bidding to create a cycle and walking route along the line of the disused Brownhills to Lichfield railway line is set to see its bid for funding rejected by Lichfield District Council.

The local authority’s Cabinet will meet this evening to discuss a report about how the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding pot should be spent.

An initial bidding process saw six projects identified which could “potentially” meet the criteria for accessing the funding, which is paid for by developers in the district.

The route of the former railway line

Five projects re-applied, including the Burntwood Action Group’s Back the Track scheme which has previously been supported by the area’s MP Michael Fabricant.

But a report from Cllr Ian Pritchard, Cabinet member for economic growth, environment and development service, reveals that a bid for £35,000 is likely to be rejected.

It said: “The Strategic Infrastructure Group agreed that the Back the Track application did not clearly articulate need, benefit or value to enable a meaningful assessment of the submission and therefore did not recommend the allocation of any funding.”

Only one Burntwood-based project was put forward for approval, with Staffordshire County Council’s request for £44,000 to improve access routes and improve parts of Chasewater Country Park earmarked for approval, providing match funding is secured.

Another scheme likely to achieve their request according to the report is the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust’s bid for £35,000 – which comes in the wake of a legal row between the organisation and the council over funding in relation to a new Lichfield housing development.

Two other schemes will receive some money but not as much as they had initially bid for:

  • Westgate Practice – initially applied for £185,619 to allow for refurbishment and additional clinical rooms. Report recommends £120,000 approval.
  • King Edward VI School – initially applied for £1.8m to provide additional secondary school places in Lichfield. Report recommends £101,000.

Another application from Netherstowe School was rejected as it was submitted after the application deadline.

Cllr Pritchard’s report says that the council will review the application process for future CIL payments going forward after admitting a number of funding bids were not eligible for the funding in the first place.

He said: “There are areas in the current procedures that could be improved to ensure that quality bids come forward and robust and meaningful recommendations can be made in respect of suggested CIL spend.”

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21 Comments

  1. John Griffin

    12th March, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    Burntwood Action Group once again attempting to hijack projects created by others. Ask Cllr Woodward or Kate Gomez what the truth is. Bogus Action Group more like.

  2. John Griffin

    12th March, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    BAG leaping on a bandwagon again, ask Cllr Woodward about the work many people put in well before BAG

  3. Norman Birch

    13th March, 2019 at 10:59 am

    Some not so useful comments from John Griffin a would be labour councillor, trying to hijack a great organisation doing something special for Burntwood. why let the truth get in the way when instead you can type utter rubbish and have a second of airtime on the back of someone else’s story, maybe Cllr Woodward would like to comment or is she also distancing herself from Griffin as well.

  4. Burntwood Bloke

    13th March, 2019 at 11:34 am

    I don’t care who’s hijacking what. Making use of that old railway would be hugely beneficial. Real shame it’s left to get overgrown

  5. John Griffin

    13th March, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    Birch slagging me off? BAG banned me and Cllr Rob Birch for asking for documentary evidence of their claims. Its called accountability. BTW someone else working on the project with Cllr Woodward (Lab) is Cllr Fisher (C). Between them they have done more for Burntwood than BAG.

  6. John Griffin

    13th March, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    BTW Any of the experts walked it? I have.last year, as has Kate Gomez (Lichfield Lore). It is a jungle in the cuttings, with trees growing out of the line and a landslip near Hammerwich Hall. It really begs for a proper funding, which the two Cllrs have been working on for two years.

  7. nellygb

    13th March, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    Wouldn’t think the handbags help in any way, ladies, put your talons away and focus your feelings on the people who have turned funding down.

    The question surely has to be why once again has a project that will benefit and be used by so many people, that will be finished and in use during our lifetime, that is not funded by either charitable donations or the tax payer has lost out to those the Lichfield centric panel have chosen.

    Why? oh I know, because they are unaccountable and they can. If they are allowed to squander away £10m+ then this really won’t even register with them.

  8. Joshua Guest

    13th March, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    Good. It’s protected to reopen. Network Rail own it and cyclists especially would not be only ones using it. Motorbikes too. Keep rails down. At least it can still be relaid if reopened.

  9. Doug Pullen

    13th March, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    John Griffin, I think it would be fair to say lots of different groups have been working on getting funding / sorting out legal access (seeing as it’s technically a criminal offence to walk on the line!). I know for a fact that this includes all of those mentioned above, this isn’t an either/or scenario.
    There’s a great opportunity to open this line up, let’s put petty politics to one side and all pull together yeah?!

  10. Norman Birch

    13th March, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    John Griffin spouting more lies, if only he engaged his brain before his mouth, what have you ever done for Burntwood except lower the tone. Cllr Woodward And fisher know BAG are leading the drive to get the railway line open, suggest you ask them when you meet to discuss your none existence in the next election. Keep trying John someone may believe you someday when it’s all too late to repair the damage. Good on BAG delivering again and nice to see a full house last night for their meeting regarding potential housing sites, which no one else is doing anything about. Keep up the good work BAG Burntwood needs you.

  11. Mrs Fisher

    13th March, 2019 at 9:03 pm

    Disappointed with the council decision, hopefully BAG find another way to deliver this great initiative. Sad some people never have anything positive to say, I for one would suggest they put there time to better use and tell us what they have done before attacking others

  12. Norman Birch

    15th March, 2019 at 11:11 pm

    I agree as a former railtrack employee, John Griffin it’s an offence to walk on a live railway line, the line mentioned is still documented as live, maybe you should carefully consider what you post having now stated that you have committed an criminal offence and incriminated others, all well and good shouting your mouth off but maybe you should think first!

  13. Susan Fisher

    15th March, 2019 at 11:17 pm

    Where have my comments gone, have I been banned or deleted…..it seems John Griffin has reported me instead of having a public debate. He can’t face someone who challenges him….very disappointed Lichfield live are you also a left wing Marxist organisation?

  14. Norman Roberts

    16th March, 2019 at 5:27 am

    Nellygb totally agree with your comments it’s unfortunate that we have minority (reading many posts lead by John Griffen) of small minded individuals that try, unsuccessfully, to use these platforms for political gain.

    I read Lichfield live a lot and this thread shouldn’t be about who did what when, but how can we get this implemented. Unfortunately it’s seems one minute both political parties in Burntwood support BAG next, but the next labour supporter are attacking them. I find it strange especially if you read comments on the labour silent protest post many labour Cllr recognise the good work BAG do, so it’s typical politics using others when it suits.

    I for one support this initiative, As im retired I would love to get involved even if it’s to help cut down the vegetation and tidying it up.

    Please keep trying BAG otherwise the disfunctional not fit for purpose BUrntwood Council will drag the whole town down.

  15. Ross

    16th March, 2019 at 9:18 am

    Susan Fisher – no we aren’t, we are, however, an independent volunteer run site without any affiliation to any cause or belief. If you suspend the conspiracy theory for a moment, you’ll note we’ve had technical issues in recent days which have meant loading a backup which preceded your comment being approved. Comments across the board have or are being reinstated.

    A simple question rather than an accusation to a team of volunteers who work to create the very site which is allowing you and others to offer an opinion might have been a more appropriate response, do you not think?

  16. Cllr Sue Woodward

    16th March, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    Let’s cut to the chase:
    (1) If Lichfield Live didn’t report on local issues such as these, how would most people know? They provide a very valuable local service.
    (2) The “greenway” proposal (first mooted by a former Cllr about 8 years ago) is not dead. It is still being pursued by Staffs CC and partners but funds are hard to come by in the contact of austerity.
    (3) BAG has undertaken to report back to me (County Councillor for Burntwood North) and Cllr Helen Fisher (County Councillor for Burntwood South) on how their proposals are progressing, or not. We look forward to hearing a detailed update from them.

    PS Back The Track is the name of an entirely separate organisation based in Brownhills/Pelsall who are doing amazing work – as volunteers – on clearing the rail track in their area. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

  17. John Griffin

    16th March, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    Public debate? Talk to your elected representatives instead of this right wing flood of comments, and get the truth about BAG.. Be careful Ross, your undoubted independence is under fire from the Fabbo right.

  18. Philip Allso

    16th March, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    Don’t knock it Ross. A ‘Left Wing Marxist Organisation’ would be a first for Lichfield. It would certainly offset the ultra right council’s. That said your neutrality is unquestioned.

  19. The real Sue Fisher

    16th March, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    I’m not the Sue Fisher above hence my user name.

    It seems to me that BAG are doing what they do best and claiming the credit for work many people have had a hand in including Councillors Fisher and Woodward. All very predictable for them.

    As for the comment from Norman Birch about them being the only ones doing anything about the Green Belt, Labour Councillors have been working for years to protect it and have been very successful in doing so. BAG will always do what they do best though, represent themselves in their unaccountable way, claiming to speak for everyone in Burntwood, which they don’t and ignoring the work of others unless they can claim it as their own.

    It won’t be long before they restart their bullying and harassment tactics like the did against the horse box owner.

  20. Susan Fisher not the real one!

    17th March, 2019 at 11:41 am

    The real Susan Fisher – Hello, oh no two of us with the same name I cannot believe it, Out of 66M people what are the chances.

    I totally disagree, just seems BAG are trying to do the right thing by Burntwood and make it a nice place to live, shame people can’t work together to achieve this.

  21. Steve Norman

    18th March, 2019 at 10:49 pm

    It should be noted that the Burntwood North County Councillor and the Burntwood South County Councillor are in different political parties but are workkng together for benefit of Burntwood in this matter. Chasewater is another example where they have worked across political lines.

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