Lichfield tells neighbours: Our land’s not up for grabs
LICHFIELD Conservative Group has issued a hands-off warning to neighbouring authorities eyeing up its “green and pleasant land” for residential and commercial development over the next 20 years.
Controlling Tories on the district council – already facing calls from its own population to scale down its expansion plans – have promised to resist at all costs any “big brother” land-grab attempts from outside the area.
The 46-strong group on the local authority has re-affirmed its manifesto pledge to protect the district’s character from any further harm due to over-development.
The group is totally opposed to any suggestion that the mainly rural district should absorb any more housing to accommodate the needs of neighbouring authorities, says Lichfield Council development portfolio holder Councillor Ian Pritchard.
“We have already accepted growth from Cannock and Tamworth, and the planning inspector has acknowledged how well we have co-operated with them on this matter.”
He added: “But as other neighbours like Birmingham and the Local Enterprise Partnership start to eye our open land for further development, they should be clear that they will have a fight on their hands.
“Birmingham has many previously developed sites, they should use those first before they come knocking on our door.”
The district authority is nearing the successful completion of its Local Plan which will allocate land for housing and employment to meet the needs of the area over the next two decades.
A Tory group meeting acknowledged that many residents are unhappy about the need to expand the district as dramatically as planned, but that it was accepted that this was to address the demand for housing and employment land that exists within the district.
“I can categorically state we will oppose any big brother tactics to grab our green and pleasant land – from whichever direction it comes,” added Cllr Pritchard.