Council chiefs say they are unable to prevent thousands of new homes being built across Lichfield and Burntwood in the coming decades.

A cabinet meeting this week saw members of Lichfield District Council’s leadership group outlining proposals to formally submit their Local Plan.

The document outlines how thousands of new homes could be constructed in the period covering 2018 to 2040:

SettlementNet completed dwellings (1st April 2018 to 31 March 2020)Committed supply of dwellings (at 1st April 2020)Strategic housing allocationsTotal
Lichfield city7413304page78image378481491233007345
Burntwood172400 page78image37847842400572
East of Rugeley0800page78image37847547520800
North of Tamworth83100001083
Armitage with Handsacre-42040200
Fazeley, Mile Oak & Bonehill7130800937
Other rural1402620402
Lichfield District Council’s Local Plan 2040 housing delivery plan

Cllr Iain Eadie, deputy leader of the council, told the cabinet meeting that targets set in Westminster had tied the local authority’s hands in terms of limiting the number of properties needing to be constructed.

“Many people ask why we allow so much housing to come into our district. As a council there is a mandatory requirement upon us from Government to allow housing to come forward.

“Lichfield district is obligated to allow 9,727 to come forward between 2018 and 2040.

“We are also required to meet our duty to cooperate with our neighbours. Where they cannot meet their own housing needs, but our own evidence base identifies that we can assist them because we have space to do so and it is sustainable, we must help.

“We have recognised that in the Local Plan with provision for 2,665 houses could come forward in this period.”

Cllr Iain Eadie, Lichfield District Council

The Local Plan has also made allowance for a “buffer” of additional homes that could be built on top of those mandated by Government.

Cllr Eadie said this would ensure the actual targets for housebuilding were met – and that the consequences of failing to do so would not be felt.

“We know that a great many number of planning permissions are granted but the developments do not come forward.

“For that reason we’ve allowed a buffer to ensure Lichfield District Council does not find itself in a situation whereby it has not allowed the housing the Government requires to take place and we end up losing control of our planning decisions because of a failure in supply.”

Cllr Iain Eadie, Lichfield District Council

Cllr Angela Lax, cabinet member responsible for housing, told the meeting that assumptions in some quarters around why the volume of new homes were being built were wide of the mark.

“The accusations, which I think are unfair, that have been made in the press and online that we are putting plans together to build houses just to get our hands on money for other things – that is not the case.

“We are very conscious of our responsibilities, but we are faced with a requirement to set out numbers of houses and the duty to operate with neighbouring authorities which is a legal requirement.”

Cllr Angela Lax, Lichfield District Council

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  1. But does this take into account Michael Gove’s recent announcements, where he has listened to concerns about all these inappropriate new developments popping up everywhere, without the proper facilities and infrastructure in support, and has also scrapped the binding national target of 300,000 homes? He admitted yesterday that developments must not be dormitories and should have proper facilities so that sustainable communities are built.

  2. So do the council intend to insist on solar panels and heat pumps on all new build houses ? Do they intend to write to the health authorities and request more doctors etc ? I think not ? They just use the government’s policy as an excuse to build houses I bet down south in the nice scenic areas there won’t be mass house building.

  3. We don’t need a “buffer” of nearly 3,000 homes, that’s utterly ridiculous. No other Council I know of has such a large “buffer” Cllr Eadie. All you are doing is opening up more countryside for potential development, as those areas will be unnecessarily included in the housing allocations in the Local Plan, which will probably mean we’ll end up building more houses in this District than we need to. Utter disgrace!

  4. Simon… Surely the new legislation negates any developments not in progress and mandates the provision of proper infrastructure both in present and future developments.
    The council report above is facile. They are prepared to go further than what is legally required and will not address the collateral damage it will do to the area and its environs. They do not supply or demand from developers for any infrastructure requirements. Most people think the standard of life has deteriorated in the last decade. Our council is culpable for this.
    For them to play the ‘it’s not our fault’ card is risible. To further say that building control would be taken away from them is weak and unworthy of local representation. We should stop this madness before it gets any worse.
    One last point… We are currently taking over 1,000,000 immigrants into the country EVERY year. Is it any wonder people want to leave large cities and that all services cannot cope ? We will never build enough properties to meet this situation. The government’s building policy is directly linked to the failure of its immigration policy. If this fundamental reality labels me as a racist or xenophobic then it is not correct. It is reasonability that is at fault here.

  5. Net migration into the country is around 300 thousand a year. And to support our economy and the ageing demographic of the existing population that is not enough. We need more people of working age, and we need more people to do jobs where we have a massive shortage. There may be too many people in the country, but what we have too many of are most certainly not immigrants. Services cannot cope because they have been under funded for a long time, under resourced whilst those few at the top get ever richer. Most of the wealth generated in this country is not spent, it does not work its way through the economy, instead it is taken from it and hoarded.

  6. True to form the Government continues to ignore all those in the industry who say new housebuilding is not the answer and the targets set by the Conservatives are unrealistic. The Government has already missed the first target it set. Why won’t it listen to the industry who suggest a “retrofit revolution” – bringing existing homes up to an acceptable modern standard and more energy efficient is a better and more realistic way to solve our housing crisis? No wonder councils like LDC follow blindly these fantasy land Government building targets. Senior politicians at both local and national level lack the imagination to find a proper solution to this crisis and are too arrogant to listen to those who actually know what they are talking back. Whether its Michael Gove or Cllr Eadie, they seem to think that “build, build and build some more” is the only answer. It isn’t. This strategy is not sustainable or achievable.

  7. @Philip: On your final point, Philip, perhaps you would permit me to expand on the details for you. Firstly, you state that “We are currently taking over 1,000,000 immigrants into the country EVERY year.” This is misleading. To quote the Migration Statistics from the House of Commons Library published in April 2021 “In the year ending March 2020: 715,000 people migrated into the UK and 403,000 people emigrated from it, leaving a net migration figure of 313,000.”

    Moreover, one million immigrants does not equate to one million new households. Many immigrants are housed in very modest accommodation – they do not all take up entire houses. Clearly, the current scheme to bring Ukrainians here has a focus on them living in existing households. The same is true of some immigrants who come here to work. In my own experience of living abroad, for example, I just had a room in a family home when working on a farm and when I was an au-pair. Some foreign farm workers live in caravans etc. on site (something I have seen here in Burntwood). Most significantly, the immigration figures also include those who come here as students and live in student accommodation. Indeed, to quote the Migration Statistics report above again “In the year ending March 2020, formal study was the most common main reason for immigration (36%), while work was the second most common main reason (32%).” Still others (asylum seekers) are housed in detention centres or hotels.

    You also fail to mention any of the other factors that contribute to a need for more housing. I do not wish to demonise people, simply to state the facts. People are now living longer, which means that we require housing for longer than we once did (as evidenced by the focus on building retirement properties in Lichfield). Furthermore, this country has a high rate of family breakdown, meaning one household is often split into two with two properties instead of one. Then, of course, there is the number of second home owners. Michael Fabricant is a good example of these. And some of the royal family have a whole portfolio of homes! This brings us on to tourism in a more general sense. How many properties that could be housing people are actually used as accommodation for tourists? In some European cities this is a hot topic of debate as people weigh the benefits to the economy of tourism against the impact on local housing. Empty properties (including some very expensive apartments in London which Boris Johnson previously promoted to wealthy foreign investors) are also often cited as an issue in relation to housing needs.

    As you can see, I too simply wish to state the “fundamental reality” as you call it. I hope this clarifies somewhat the facts on immigration and housing in the UK.

  8. @The Scribbler, listening to Michael Gove on the Today show (Radio 4) the other day, I think he does now seem to be getting it. He spoke very well about how future developments should look, and is now distancing himself from the ridiculous 300,000 house building target, which is no longer being made mandatory. He spoke about the current system being undemocratic (with the involvement of the Planning Inspectorate), many new developments not having sufficient facilities (i.e. Drs surgeries, dentists, sports provision etc) and developments lacking in beauty. He promises to address all these issues. The question is, is Concrete (sorry, Cllr) Eadie listening?

  9. @Chris and Clare Sholl… Thank you both for your measured response and observations.
    Perhaps this is not the place for an in depth discussion on a difficult subject. It is difficult to separate the facts from the propaganda. Did we really envisage that the immigrant population of our capital city and other large cities would exceed the indigenous population and the difficulties this creates?
    As I say it is about balance.
    I would encourage you to read the Times best selling book by Douglas Murray…. The Strange Death of Europe.
    Thought provoking and an explanation as to why we find ourselves in an inevitable situation.

  10. @Chris : You say there is too many in the country but you want more immigrants to come into the country. You say services cannot cope , since 2010 7 million immigrants have registered with gp services across the country. Most of the money made by immigrants is sent back to their relatives. You say net migration 300 thousands a year , that is the ones we know about. You say we need immigrants to look after the old would you like couple of young men from France to look after your relatives. I don’t think so.

  11. @Clare Sholl : Many immigrants housed in very modest accommodation , alot of them live in 4 and 5 star hotels with swimming pools and jacuzzis. 10 times the population of lichfield come every year to live. Mass immigration equals mass housebuilding.

  12. It would be interesting to know which of our neighbours are unable to meet their fair share of additional housing.

    Lichfield should not be destroyed to meet their perceived needs.

    Lichfield should plan for the minimum of additional housing and no more.

  13. @belleview: Well, I don’t know many students who live in 4 and 5 star hotels – and they are the largest group among the immigrant population. What I do know, is that there are foreign students coming to this country and paying through the nose for a British education. Accommodation alone, usually in a room in halls of residence or a shared student house, costs an arm and a leg. This is on top of extortionate tuition fees, and foreign students can be charged more than British students.

    As I say, I have been an immigrant myself. I also have a number of immigrants in my family. None live in hotels. All pay their way and contribute to the communities they live in.

    The minority of immigrants who are housed in hotels are asylum seekers. They represent a smaller proportion of the total number of immigrants than either students or people who come here to work. To quote the same report as above: “In the year ending March 2020, formal study was the most common main reason for immigration (36%), while work was the second most common main reason (32%).”

    As to ‘mass house building’ – take a look at who is actually buying these properties. I doubt the retirement apartments springing up all over Lichfield will be snapped up by refugee families.

    You responded to Chris’s points with: “You say we need immigrants to look after the old would you like couple of young men from France to look after your relatives. I don’t think so.” Actually, I’d be quite happy to be looked after by any nice young men in my old age, thanks. I have nothing against people from France or anywhere else for that matter. Immigrants and refugees are people just like everyone else and deserve to be treated with the same kindness and respect.

  14. @Philip: I’ve just taken a quick look online at a description of the book you recommend. Amazon says: “The Strange Death of Europe is a highly personal account of a continent and culture caught in the act of suicide.” And “the book addresses the disappointing failure of multiculturalism”.

    Sounds like a lot of subjective, right wing propaganda to me. Think I’ll stick to the facts, thanks.

  15. Clare Sholl – Sticking to the facts is the mistake we made during the referendum. Those who broke electoral law on the way to their deluded, divisive and destructive ‘victory’ knew this. Emotions trump facts every time.
    Let’s look at those lecturing us on patriotism. An offshore entity based in The Bahamas controlled through a trust in Jersey and owned by a hereditary viscount. One who lives in Monaco and is non-dom for tax purposes. Sounds a real patriot to me.
    A newspaper with a history of supporting Hitler and the Nazis during their rise to power. True patriots do that.
    I am happy to take a leaf from their book on strategy and accept that facts alone will not win the argument.
    Quite why people believe that an aristocratic billionaire who lives in Monaco has our best interests at heart is a mystery.

  16. Clare Sholl… Well he was educated at Eaton and Oxford University. It was the top seller for twelve weeks.
    The facts are a bar of wet soap where this subject is concerned as I have found from my own research.
    Many cultures have different standards to ours. F.M.G. and the subjugation of women being just two. These standards seem to resist integration. There is much more in the book and, of course, detractors would want to label it unfavourably. In truth I do not share all the opinions expressed. That said the superficial example of au-pair experience measured against real immigration is not that enlightening.

  17. Also @Clare the author Douglass Murray has a long history of promoting far right conspiracy theories and not bothering too much about facts. He is a big supporter of Trump and is very close to Viktor Orbán in Hungary. Of course old Etonian Murray insists he is simply being attacked for holding the normal views of any rational wealthy white man.

  18. @Chris: Thanks for pointing this out. Yes, he’s got a very clear, far right agenda, and people should bear that in mind when reading his books and articles.
    @Philip: I have actually lived abroad a number of times in Norway, Germany, Sweden and Belgium. I have worked in all sorts of jobs from milking cows in the Arctic to working on an international negotiating team in Brussels. You could say I have rather more experience of immigration than Douglas Murray. Chris is quite correct about his background. Going by some of the College’s alumni, I wouldn’t set too much store by an Eton education.
    And, by the way, my ‘superficial’ experience of being an au pair in Germany involved working for a family where the grandmother was a proud old Nazi. The worrying thing is, I still encounter very similar views to hers in this country dressed up as British patriotism and ‘concerns’ about immigration. Funny how alike people can be across the great cultural divide!

  19. If anyone, including me, tells you anything, ask yourself two questions; “why are they telling me this?” and “what are they not telling me?” then look it up in at least two other places.
    These days it is increasingly important to also ask “who is paying them to tell me this?”.

  20. @Ian, it’s Birmingham. Birmingham apparently needs help with their housing demand because they’ve used all their land up apparently. So now we need to use all the land up around Lichfield too. Then, when that’s gone, all the land somewhere else will be needed = huge urban sprawl. Happy days.

  21. @ProfessorPineapple: You make some very valid points. Personally, I think we should have been calling out all the racists and confronting far right campaigning and tabloid hate speech head on. The EU was set up to prevent a repeat of Nazi Germany, and that is why the far right hate it.

  22. Clare Sholl – Spot on ! Three Franco-German wars in the 70 years before European integration and none in the 70 years since.
    “I don’t want my daughters to grow up in a world where they need a visa or permit to work in Europe; or where they are hampered from growing a business because of extortionate call costs and barriers to trade,” said Liz Truss. ““Every parent wants their children to grow up in a healthy environment with clean water, fresh air and thriving natural wonders. Being part of the EU helps protect these precious resources and spaces.”
    But now she does?

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