Councillors have rejected a plan for six new five bedroom homes on land in Lichfield amid fears it could set a precedent for the housing mix on future developments.
The properties had been earmarked for a plot of land near the larger Deanslade Farm scheme off Claypit Lane.
But a meeting of Lichfield District Council’s planning committee this week saw concerns raised over the recommendation to approve the scheme of five bedroom properties based on the wider housing mix provided in the nearby development.
Cllr Jeyan Anketell, Labour representative for Stowe ward, said the six houses being proposed would move the overall figures for the area further away from the local authority’s own policies.
“On such a small development we can’t insist on affordable housing, but the additional six five bedroom houses makes the imbalance of house sizes worse.
“Before this development, out of nearly 500 houses [on the Deanslade Farm site], the percentage of four and five bedroom homes was about 17% when it should be 12% – with the addition of these it goes up to 18%.”Cllr Jeyan Anketell, Lichfield District Council
Committee chairman Cllr Thomas Marshall told the meeting that while the numbers may not fully meet the policies of the council, members may need “cut a little bit of slack” regarding the proposals given their place within a larger Strategic Development Allocation (SDA) site.
“There is a slight deviation from the policy requirement – I don’t think it’s so bad we have to make too big an issue of it.
“It’s not a standalone development, it’s part of the Deanslade SDA – we need to look at it as part of that.
“It creates a slight imbalance, but overall I suppose we have to cut a little bit of slack which may be unpalatable for some, but in planning terms that’s what we have to do.”Cllr Thomas Marshall, Lichfield District Council
“Uncomfortable about this development”
But Cllr Paul Ray, Liberal Democrat representative for Chadsmead, said he was unhappy with the development and recommended the scheme be rejected.
“What is the planning basis to do a calculation for the whole area rather than looking at the development on a standalone basis?
“I accept we would not be able to get the mix to fit exactly on such a site, but there’s not been any attempt to do so – there are no two or three bedroom homes, but we know we have a shortage in this district.
“It’s a sizeable plot of land which could have had some two and three bedroom houses, but no attempt has been made to take that into account.
“I am concerned about this and uncomfortable about this development for this reason.”Cllr Paul Ray, Lichfield District Council
Cllr David Salter, Conservative member for Shenstone, added:
“This could set a precedent for a developer to take a large plot and deal with small plots within it on an individual basis.”Cllr David Salter, Lichfield District Council
The committee voted 8-2 in favour of rejecting the proposal.