The Old Mining College Centre, home of Burntwood Town Council

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Councillors are set to debate the latest phase of Burntwood’s neighbourhood plan at a meeting next week.

Burntwood Town Council’s neighbourhood plan task and finish group will examine areas where the Inspector has sought more information and clarification.

The neighbourhood plan document will help to inform the future of the town once it has been approved.

Among the areas being tackled are around the focus and scope of four key ‘neighbourhood centres’:

  • Chasetown
  • Swan Island
  • Ryecroft Shopping Centre
  • Morley Road

But the plan’s Inspector has questioned whether these “large areas” with existing residential use can only support a limited number of uses, suggesting the proposals were an “apparently prescriptive and restrictive approach”.

The policy – known as B3 in the draft neighbourhood plan document – identifies seven types of development which would be applicable in these areas:

  • New retail, offices, food or drink businesses.
  • Temporary use of vacant sites for uses that “would not undermine the health and vitality” of the centres.
  • Re-introduction of traditional shop fronts.
  • Improved signage.
  • Public realm improvements.
  • Transport and car parking improvements.
  • Road safety developments for pedestrians and cyclists in areas such as Chasetown High Street.

But a document to be discussed at the meeting suggests there is not a full agreement with the Inspector’s view:

“The town council do not consider that the neighbourhood centres cover large areas or that the policy only supports a very limited range of uses.

“The neighbourhood centres were identified after a local walkabout and workshop and cover the main retail, commercial and community hearts of the local neighbourhoods.

“To allow for a greater degree of flexibility the town council would be willing to accept amendment to the policy to manage new residential development at ground floor level.”

Burntwood Town Council report

The report will be heard at a meeting on 22nd January.

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.