A deal to sell land in Lichfield for housing has been branded “a total mess” by a local councillor.

Lichfield District Council’s cabinet backed a move to sell the land at Leyfields and Netherstowe to housing provider Bromford earlier this week.

The land off Leyfields earmarked for new housing

But it emerged that a contract had been signed on the deal before necessary public consultation had taken place.

Cllr Doug Pullen, leader of the local authority told the cabinet meeting that the contract had left him in an “impossible position” given the council would likely face a costly legal battle if they sought to pull out of the deal.

Cllr Dave Robertson, Labour member for the Curborough ward, said local residents had been let down by the council.

Dave Robertson

“The decision around the disposal of the land by Lichfield District Council has been a total mess.

“The public in Lichfield deserve better than a consultation which is ultimately meaningless when it is set aside due to the premature signing of a contract by officers. 

“It should also be concerning that the consultation to sell off the land began so long after planning permission had been sought, meaning that the discussion around the sale was inevitably linked to the planning proposals.

“In my view those proposals, particularly at Leyfields, have significant problems around traffic management and drainage, and do not represent a good use of public land.”

Cllr Dave Robertson

More than 1,000 residents have signed a petition against the proposals to build on the land, which will now be considered as part of the planning application process.

However, one member of the cabinet said the benefits of building affordable housing on the sites would outweigh the negatives of the loss of public open space.

But Cllr Robertson said it was important the feeling of local residents and organisations – including Lichfield City Council which has also objected – were taken into account.

“I do hope that the objections are listened to carefully by the planning committee when they meet as those objections cannot and must not be ignored.”

Cllr Dave Robertson

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10 Comments

  1. The council has a statuary requirement to have a code of conduct for its officers. This has recourse to the Ombudsmen should it not be implemented properly.
    We are all responsible for our actions; even if we are no longer in an elected office.
    This situation clearly displays a misuse of power and should be dealt with both internally and in court if necessary.
    Lastly.. It is assumed that Bamfords will sue if the contract isn’t upheld. Has anyone asked them? I would have thought they might consider the bigger picture and what the future might hold.

  2. Will the person who signed this contract be sacked now. This seems very much like chicanery. I think I can smell a rat.

  3. Those who have their own beautiful green spaces in this City cannot possibly know what it’s like not to have one nearby, locally, next to your home where you can watch your children playing. Yet the amount of land given over for example to those who can afford to relax by playing golf (who are also likely to have a green space attached to their homes) compared to the tiny spaces being considered for planning applications purposes here is quite honestly unethical and shows a lack of foresight. To be confined to a home shared with other family members, or a flat with children, no opportunity to walk outside of the home to feel the grass under your feet instead of unrelenting tarmac and concrete which take more and more resources from out of the earth. Or to feel the wonderful cool air of the shade of a tree giving respite during a heatwave, locked in the home it soon becomes a prison to escape from. No wonder some young ones choose to take drugs, commit crime, go to prison when adults with responsibility ignore what is better for their health. Home soon becomes a prison when there’s nowhere to feel free to release pent up emotion, no green space for relaxation, run around get rid of excess energy. It has been proven that Green, nature’s colour, is the most relaxing and rewarding of all on the colour spectrum. Furthermore replacing these green spaces with more tarmac, brick and concrete will lead to more problems linked to global warming. Less spaces for the rainwater to sink into the ground creating funnelled water overloading drains, streams, rivers destroying homes and businesses. Haven’t we seen enough of flooding in recent years with everything paved over with less and less ground for rainwater to sink in. Whereas trees planted will take up the rainwater thereby lowering the water tables instead of the rain being directing into the already overflowing channels, streams and rivers. Trees also provide us with life energy, oxygen whilst ridding us of the chemical harmful to us. I ask you what is better for human beings, concrete jungles or recreational green spaces. Do not take away these few remaining green spaces. Do not repeat the lessons of the past.

    If necessary surely this planned development could be part of the ongoing developments already going ahead in the town. Or is it that social housing isn’t wanted there. Is that the truth of the matter? Green spaces for some but not the ‘others’. Are we really all in this “together” when there is no consultation process. It appears we are not.

  4. How things have changed. I remember well and it doesn’t seem that long ago when, if a staff member had made a significant error of judgement it was the head of the department having overall responsibility for the member of staff who got the “chop”. Nowadays it seems no-one in positions of power want to take responsibility for errors made but instead seek to excuse themselves by “blaming”.

  5. This seems a very confused state of affairs. The planning system requires due process and with seemingly,no public consultation ,and being rubber stamped by people who are no longer there, should be enough to stop this in its tracks….

  6. We are extremely lucky in Lichfield to have green spaces in our City. We have all learnt the value of these in lockdown. Megan must speak for many local residents in her comment of 17th January at 8;55am. I call on the Council to do the right thing and protect our incredibly precious green spaces, which give kids somewhere to exercise and enjoy, instead of sitting in front of a computer screen. Many of us want to connect with nature within walking distance from our homes, it improves wellbeing. The idea of selling this land for development is truly unbelievable. In addition a very serious procedural mistake has been made, and it is necessary to remedy it. This is far too important to local residents for it to go unchallenged.

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