Councillors have given the go-ahead for a housing development in Fradley despite local opposition.

Fradley and Streethay Parish Council had objected to the plans for eight new properties on land alongside Turnbull Road.

Cllr Simon Roberts, chairman of Fradley and Streethay Parish Council, told Lichfield District Council’s planning committee that the proposed development made “a mockery” of future plans for the area.

“Fradley Neighbourhood Plan sets out our vision for the village and specifically identifies housing needs and aspirations for the development of the village.

“This development does nothing to address the needs of the village and by approving this application, it not only makes a mockery of the neighbourhood plan system, but poses serious questions to whether our neighbourhood plan has any validity at all.”

Cllr Simon Roberts, Fradley and Streethay Parish Council

The parish council’s stance was supported by more than 50 letters from local residents complaining about a move in 2018 to clear the area before any planning approval had been granted.

Cllr Mike Wilcox, Fradley ward councillor, told the meeting:

Cllr Mike Wilcox

“The land in question had previously been home to various species of website and vegetation and bordered by mature trees.

“This area was subsequently cleared by bulldozers and without any consultation or engagement with anyone, including the parish council or the district council.

“There is precious open space left in Fradley that has not been earmarked for development.

“The parish council through the neighbourhood plan and in consultation with residents has tried to preserve any relatively small pieces of land left to be a haven for wildlife.

“But the truth, unfortunately, is that the district council in this situation has no power.”

Cllr Mike Wilcox, Lichfield District Council

“The site is allocated for housing”

But Christopher Timothy, from CT Planning speaking on behalf of the applicant, said the land had not been earmarked for any use other than the one being proposed.

“The site is allocated for housing – there is no designation on this site regarding open space.

“The site has no national or local designations protecting any tree or ecological feature. No protected trees are proposed to be removed.

“It does not result in the loss of protected open space.”

Christopher Timothy, CT Planning

The debate saw Lichfield District Council’s planning committee vote 10 to 2 in favour of approving the scheme at a meeting yesterday (5th May).

Cllr Richard Cox, who proposed the eventual decision said:

“I propose approval – I am reluctant, but I can’t genuinely find a reason to refuse it.

“There is no reason not to recommend.”

Cllr Richard Cox, Lichfield District Council

The whole debate can be seen on the stream of the planning committee meeting:

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7 Comments

  1. Androids 10, Humans 2. Just who are these people representing? Can’t they just say NO, this parish has shown they are strongly opposed to this development. Council you represent the people not the developers. How can you possibly vote so decisively for almost ALL building developments. Anyone who has lived in the Lichfield District long enough has seen the damage you have done. You have lost the respect of those you purport to represent. Does the opinions of the electorate have no value?

  2. And who would pay for the legal costs at an appeal – which LDC would be guaranteed to lose? Not the Parish Council.
    District councils have to follow planning guidance set by government so ask Lichfield’s MP what they should do. I watched it and read the report and can’t understand why the Parish Council should think they could do what they wanted with private land.

  3. Isn’t that the problem though Steve? Hitherto the council’s did have control over land use. Even when it was privately owned. It was possible to restrict overdevelopment. Now even previously designated agricultural land can be utilised for building, and yes the government has made this possible by deristricting categories.
    The mantra is more houses, more houses. In this tidal wave much that is good both aesthetically and in community good is being sacrificed.
    The council do not have to vote virtually en bloc. They could show some consideration for the people affected. Would they previously have shown such largesse towards builders? I think not. You are even seeing people selling their houses to avericious developers.
    We need balance. Every scrap of land is being built on. Who can bring some control to this if not the council. They can bring pressure to bear on developers with road adoption, street lighting etcetera. Just giving in at every application is not the purpose they are there for.

  4. Sorry but that is not the real world we live in. Even 37 years ago we had to conform to the County Structure Plan which had to comply with the National Planning Policy Framework.
    There has to be national planning policies or a power station, industrial estate, hospital or railway will never get built.
    When John Selwyn Gummer said councils had to grant permission for out of town shopping developments (we all now enjoy) they sprang up everywhere – to the detriment of town centres.
    We can still say “no” to development residents don’t want but as Lichfield District Councillors found out recently you can say ‘no’ and even be backed up by the Independent Planning Inspector but if the Secretary of State says ‘yes’ then Curborough starts to become part of Lichfield City.
    Perhaps a letter to SW1A 0AA asking if the Member for Lichfield will guarantee the court costs (barristers don’t come cheap) LDC , i.e. Council Taxpayers, may have to pay will embolden them?

  5. Why are all these houses needed,last year a walking group I belong to came down off the Moors into Accrington we walked through a large terraced estates 90% of which were boarded up.

  6. Yes Steve the Secretary of State (who’s cultural affinities are probably different to mine) did overrule the County and District decision on the basis that more houses were the overriding need. I might feel slightly more comfortable with that if the building industry wasen’t a major contributor to his party.
    I love Lichfield and my many (too many perhaps) criticisms of the council and our MP are because I feel we have a responsibility of care for the heritage we are temporally in charge of.
    All a waste of angst probably.

  7. Dear Philip,
    I haven’t been following the ins and outs of building developments in Lichfield and council manoeuvres, but commend you for doing so. Thank you for the comments on my Diary – wanted to repay the compliment and read what you have written!
    Tessa

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