Councillors in Lichfield and Burntwood have been told they would “hand the keys to paradise” over to developers if they delayed the Local Plan process.

The local authority’s cabinet opted to press ahead with the document, which outlines proposals for the future of Lichfield and Burntwood over the next 20 years.

Members had disagreed over whether to push ahead or revisit the document once a public consultation had been carried out.

An amendment, which would have seen the draft Local Plan 2040 go back to the cabinet after the next stage of the process, was defeated in a vote.

Cllr Angela Lax told the meeting she could see the possible benefits of reviewing the proposals – but said delaying the plan would open the door for unacceptable developments across the district.

Angela Lax

“I’d love us to be able to go back over it but I think the position is very clear.

“We do have the fall back of if the consultation comes back with real concerns and we have adjustments we can make within five years.

“We’re often told Lichfield is a developers’ paradise – we will hand them the keys to paradise if we don’t get this plan sorted.”

Cllr Angela Lax, Lichfield District Council

The meeting was told that delays could see the Local Plan – which has proposed more than 9,700 houses across Lichfield and Burntwood over the next 20 years – have to be revisited under new planning white paper proposals.

Cllr Iain Eadie, cabinet member responsible for the plan, said such a move could add another 2,000 homes to the total needed.

“At the moment, the bulk of our housing numbers are identified under the local housing need formula.

“What’s set out in the white paper is a revision to that formula. If we produce a local plan under the new rules set out it will be to the detriment of this district.

“If we delay, we have to make a new Local Plan under that formula and we will be building more houses.

“Government has clearly signalled it wishes to see more houses being built not less.”

Cllr Iain Eadie, Lichfield District Council

Cllr Ashley Yeates questioned whether the council should take the “brave” step and allow further scrutiny of the plan.

Cllr Ashley Yeates

“We’ve got an opportunity with what’s gone on with COVID to go back and review this.

“Let’s put it out for consultation, see what it brings back then maybe bring it back to cabinet so we can look at it.

“It’s a brave thing to do because if we don’t do this, we potentially will get 2,000 more houses.”

Cllr Ashley Yeates, Lichfield District Council

But Cllr Rob Strachan said the dangers of delaying the Local Plan process were too great.

“The risk of us losing control our own planning regulations is real and too great for me to accept.”

Cllr Rob Strachan, Lichfield District Council

4 replies on “Delaying Local Plan process in Lichfield and Burntwood would “hand the keys to paradise” to developers, councillor says”

  1. I agree with the District Council’s decision to go ahead with the revision of the Local Plan, which is the cornerstone to building the right developments in the District. The problem is not the Local Plan but the fact that there is insufficient competition in building to raise quality and reduce prices; this arises because only the developers of a complete designated greenfield site can afford to do this. Local developers who can only afford to build a few buildings, cannot do this until there is a basic infrastructure of unfinished roads and utilities which only a developer of the whole site can afford. The solution is to emulate what is done in other countries, which is for the planning authority to purchase the land, design the layout and install the basic infrastructure, then the plots can be sold to any UK resident entity, a private individual, a local builder or a national developer.

  2. Councils up and down England are taking the decision to delay their Local Plans – a quick Google News search revealed that. Many are citing the recent planning regulation changes and proposals for the delay to give them more time to consult and come up with a strategy that best suits their local communities.

    More importantly, does the Lichfield DC proposed plan take into account the Government’s response to the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission report? The Government has clearly stated that the changes it wants to see will see “Greater concentration will now be placed on the quality, design and the environment in planning than ever before, with the local community fully involved in how they want new developments to look and feel.”

    That is an important new direction that LDC must take into account with its Local Plan, whether Cllr Eadie likes it or not.

    Lichfield and District dies have obligations to meet. But the first is to the local residents. So a further delay to ensure LDC approves a Local Plan that benefits us first and foremost does not seem unreasonable. Unless of course some councillors and paid officers have another agenda?

  3. Delay delay delay. Burntwoid needs more infrastructure now
    When will we ever get any decent shops, or things to do!
    Our “shopping centre ” is a joke

  4. Why Destroy the local environment as you said an increase in paradise to developers to destroy the land the environment the environment The greenbelt countryside farmlands should be protected in law countryside doesn’t mean more housing they need more trees

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