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01/03/2017

1,000 homes approved in West Midlands town

Words: Laura Edgar
Ashby Road, Tamworth

Lichfield District Council’s planning committee has approved a development comprising up to 1,000 homes for a site in Tamworth.

The proposal also includes a primary school, local centre, 28 hectares of public open space, landscaping and associated infrastructure. Financial contributions will be made to secondary education.

The controversial scheme is for land at Arkall Farm on Ashby Road.

Although the farm is located north of Tamworth, it comes under the jurisdiction of Lichfield District Council and was allocated in Lichfield’s local plan to help Tamworth meet its housing requirements. It lies close to Anker Valley, a site for which Tamworth Borough Council granted approval for 535 homes last year.

Tamworth Borough Council has opposed the development throughout the planning process and wrote to Lichfield District Council, asking it to refuse it. Tamworth members had expressed concerns over the extra traffic the development would generate.

Half of the houses built will contribute to Tamworth’s local plan allocation and the other 500 would go to Lichfield’s local plan allocation, Ian Pritchard, cabinet member for economic growth, development & environment at Lichfield District Council said.

He said the council consulted “widely” on the local plan, which has been approved by the secretary of state. It “takes on board thousands of local views, and sets out where and what type of development should take place locally," .

According to the planning agenda (pdf) for the planning committee meeting, held on Monday 27 February, planning officers recommended the application for approval subject to the applicant – Barwood Strategic Land – entering into a section 106 agreement to secure contributions towards:

  • 31 per cent affordable housing;
  • Provision and future maintenance of public open space;
  • Provision of land and construction or contributions towards a 1.5 form entry primary school including nursery;
  • Secondary education contribution;
  • Onsite retail and community facilities; and
  • Bus service to the site.

A number of other conditions were listed alongside the recommendation, including that no more than 201 dwellings shall be completed on site until improvements have been made to a Fountains Junction.

Ian Pritchard, cabinet member for economic growth, development & environment at Lichfield District Council, said the application was approved subject to a monitor and manage approach.

“This commits the council to assessing highway conditions at later phases, with the development only allowed to proceed when the necessary infrastructure is in place.

He said the council consulted “widely” on the local plan, which has been approved by the secretary of state. It “takes on board thousands of local views, and sets out where and what type of development should take place locally," .

Residents have long campaigned against this development, with the North East Tamworth Action Group set up to fight the proposal. Around 400 letters of objection were submitted against the plans.

Members of Tamworth Borough Council have promised to take it as high as the secretary of state.

Robert Pritchard, deputy leader of Tamworth Borough Council, said the decision “just beggars belief”.

“We are going to take this all the way,” he said.

The Planner has contacted Barwood Land for comment.

The agenda for the meeting can be found here (pdf).

More information about the application can be found here by searching 14/00516/OUTMEI.

Image credit | Google Earth

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