A local councillor says proposals to open up a former railway line as a walkway or cycle path between Lichfield and Burntwood would make Hammerwich a “juicy target” for developers.
Lichfield District Council’s draft Local Plan 2040 has outlined proposals to prevent developments which would prevent future use of the route of the Lichfield to Walsall line.
The local authority’s leader, Cllr Doug Pullen, confirmed discussions over creating a new trail along the line were taking place with Network Rail.
But Cllr Vance Wasdell, chairman of Hammerwich Parish Council, said the idea of a walking or cycling route would risk opening up the area to increased housing development.
“Converting it to a footpath would suit developers who see Hammerwich green belt as a juicy target and well within what they could afford.
“Those that want a footpath should help with redeveloping the canal – a project that is more beneficial for wildlife and the towpath as good or better for human recreation.”Cllr Vance Wasdell, Hammerwich Parish Council
Cllr Wasdell said people living near the former line would rather see trains run along the route again – despite the last passenger services operating through the village in 1965.
“As a Hammerwich resident I am aware that there is plenty of support for a rail service with a local station, which could be provided on the old Charrington’s site to serve the Burntwood area.
“I would expect the main traffic flows would be from Burntwood and Brownhills to Birmingham, as at the moment this traffic is almost totally car-based with little viable public transport.
“Should congestion charging come into being in Birmingham or parts of the West Midlands, non-rail served communities – such as Burntwood – will be the big losers.
“Burntwood is closer to Birmingham via Walsall by rail than Lichfield is to Sutton Coldfield, so commuting from Burntwood should be both cheaper and quicker.
“There would be the added bonus of a ten minute journey to Walsall and good connections to Wolverhampton, Shropshire or even a day out at Aberystwyth.”Cllr Vance Wasdell, Hammerwich Parish Council