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Ex-Burntwood Labour councillor warns residents must be ready to fight any “get rich quick” proposals to build on green belt land

A former Burntwood councillor has warned a clampdown is needed on “get rich quick developers” targeting green belt sites.

Eric Drinkwater
Eric Drinkwater

Eric Drinkwater stepped down from roles as a Labour councillor on Lichfield District Council and Burntwood Town Council at the local elections.

But he believes councillors and residents must continue to be on their guard after senior Conservative MP Liz Truss said a million homes should be built on green belt land to solve the UK’s housing shortage.

Mr Drinkwater said the plan was “totally unacceptable”.

“In August 2007, like all other local authorities, Lichfield District Council officers and elected members commenced the process of consulting and negotiating the Local Plan,” he said.

“This is designed to inform which developments can take place up until 2029 across the whole district. The plan was inspected by the Government Planning Inspectorate and except for some minor amendments, was declared legally compliant and sound – this included no development on Green Belt land.

“Do we live in a democracy or not? After years of hard work by officers and councillors up jumps Liz Truss and declares that there are to be one million houses built on green belt land.

“This is totally unacceptable and she should be examining all other options that are available at least until 2029 when our existing Local Plan expires.”

Burntwood has seen a number of high profile battles to prevent green belt developments in recent years.

And Mr Drinkwater believes other housing solutions can be found.

“There are plenty of brownfield sites left and lots of empty properties lying idle that could be compulsory purchased,” he said. “I am sure there could be enough properties found in this way to build the accommodation required.

“We need to stop get rich quick developers dictating what and where it will be built and start building for need not greed.”

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11 Comments

  1. Bassey

    15th May, 2019 at 9:51 am

    This is precisely the reason myself and a few other people I’ve spoken to, are looking at leaving Lichfield. So sad. When we first moved here about 15 years ago, we did so because Lichfield was a small and quiet city with a nice “village” feel. In the last few years I and other locals have witnessed what can only described as an explosion of housing developments – all sanctioned by the LDC. There is practically zero added infrastructure to deal with the added population, as anyone who has tried to drive through the city on the weekend will tell you. It hasn’t always been like this. I understand the need for more housing, of course but, I’m Lichfield the Council have pretty much sold Lichfield down the river.

    Still. – I guess there has to be some way of getting back the £10million they’ve wasted on Friaragate…?

  2. Philip Allso

    15th May, 2019 at 11:39 am

    Builders will always push the case for more houses. That’s what they do. That’s how they make their money. That’s why it was felt prudent to restrict overdevelopment by introducing Green Belt zones. What has changed? With ever growing populations the need for the health benefits from such areas are more relevant than ever. Affordable housing is a myth for many low income families. The buy to let and landlord market has largely replaced council housing. This has not produced a situation where many can save because of the high rents and thus they will never get on the property ladder. Often the properties are sold directly to the buy to rent market. Furthermore, builders do not want to build low value properties. There is less profit in them. Builders build and move on. Build some more and move on again. The control of such development is imperative. Many in Lichfield and Burntwood feel that the LDC are far too liberal in allowing many recent and proposed developments. Somewhat like the builders they agree to these business developments and move on!

  3. Roy Appleby

    16th May, 2019 at 12:01 am

    Here Here to both statements. Lichfield is no longer pleasant to live in. Choked to death by a incompetent council and planning dept.

  4. Dave King

    16th May, 2019 at 9:52 am

    Would you like to join the Save our Greenbelt group, which has successfully fought off developers in our area for many years?

  5. Eric.N.Drinkwater

    16th May, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    Dave King, You have done no fighting off as it has all been done at the District Council by Officers and elected members. You and your group are living in Cloud Cuckoo Land

  6. Dave King

    16th May, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    One of us is living in cloud cookout land, one of us has an active group working hard at this.

    Did you go door to door getting protest letters signed, no you didn’t.

    You are just an old glory speaker who is passed his sell by date.

    Kindest regards

    Dave

  7. John Griffin

    18th May, 2019 at 11:08 am

    Dave King your group has absolutely no effect as it is not an elected party. You have no mandate, nor a massive following. BAG for instance is concentrated around Farewell Lane in Burntwood, although they now have a person on the Town Council as an Independent. The real power is with the Secretary of State who has the power to overrule inspectors, and whose party is funded partly by the big building firms. Get real.

  8. Dave King

    19th May, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    Why don’t you join our group just to see what effect we have had. Then ‘you’ might ‘get real’.

    kindest regards

    Dave King

  9. John Griffin

    20th May, 2019 at 8:33 am

    If you’re BAG I got banned for asking to see minutes of the meetings with developers, in the tradition of Nolan principles. And you have no effect other than that which is expedient for the politicians to allow. Hubris.

  10. Dave King

    20th May, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    I am not B.A.G, but you sound like an uninformed troublemaker to me.

    Goodbye.

  11. John Griffin

    20th May, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    Whoops. Since when was asking for Nolan Principles to be adhered to called “troublemaking”? And considering Cllr Birch of BTC got the same treatment? If you make claims, be prepared to back them with documentary evidence.

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