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:
|Settlement||Net completed dwellings (1st April 2018 to 31 March 2020)||Committed supply of dwellings (at 1st April 2020)||Strategic housing allocations||Total|
|East of Rugeley||0||800||0||800|
|North of Tamworth||83||1000||0||1083|
|Armitage with Handsacre||-4||204||0||200|
|Fazeley, Mile Oak & Bonehill||7||130||800||937|
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