Campaigners fighting to prevent land in Burntwood from being taken out of the Green Belt could push the problem of development on to the doorsteps of other residents, a report has warned.
Members of the Burntwood Action Group have held a public meeting over proposals to change the status of a parcel of farmland.
Hundreds submitted a response to Lichfield District Council’s Local Plan consultation calling for a rethink to the plan.
But a submission from Burntwood Town Council has warned that the issue of future housing developments cannot simply be left for other residents to deal with.
In his report, Cllr Rob Birch, chair of planning and development at the council, said:
“Burntwood Town Council recognises the strength of feeling with regards to the apparent moves by developers and landowners to bring the land around Coulter Lane forward as areas of potential future housing development.
“There is rightly, particular opposition to this from the Burntwood Action Group (BAG) and the local residents in that area of Burntwood and we share those concerns.
“However, it is clear to the town council that many of the arguments put forward by BAG against developments in the eastern side of Burntwood are not necessarily balanced with the needs of residents in other parts of the town.
“There is an apparent push from BAG to see all development located elsewhere in Burntwood where it does not impact as significantly on those living in the area BAG members are predominantly based in the St Matthews and Church Farm Estate areas.
“This approach is biased against residents in other areas of Burntwood and this is not an ethos which is acceptable to Burntwood Town Council who need to emphasise that all areas of the town will need to see its fair share of development.”Cllr Rob Birch, Burntwood Town Council
Tensions between the council and the local campaign group have been simmering in recent months.
However, the group has claimed that the issue of the potential change of status for the farmland only came about because of their members’ “determination to expose and publicise this attempt by Lichfield District Council to surreptitiously make this land available for future development”.
“Do not sacrifice one area to appease objectors in another”
Cllr Birch’s report added that future provision should not be forced on one area in order to appease those complaining in another.
“The town council exists to serve the people of the whole town and will work to ensure the needs of all are met as far as is possible through the development and review of a town development strategy as expressed in the Neighbourhood Plan.
“This is of particular importance as it is imperative that Lichfield District Council take a balanced view of the needs of the whole town and do not sacrifice one area to appease objectors in another.
“Burntwood Town Council maintain the position that all of the Green Belt areas around the town are currently not suitable or appropriate for future development and that the locations of future provision – and in particular affordable housing – should be distributed across the town in suitable sites and not just on the western side of Burntwood.
“In order to create and sustain a good demographic mix within the community it is essential that opportunities are identified and then acted upon to provide affordable housing across the whole of Burntwood.
“This must also recognise the need of an ageing population to downsize their properties as well the requirement for younger people and families to have starter homes and affordable rental properties.”Cllr Rob Birch, Burntwood Town Council