The Future of Lichfield District’s Local Plan

31 Aug 2023

 

 

 

Cllr Paul Ray, leader of the Lib Dem group at the council, said it was important any Local Plan rethink also tackled the big issues facing local residents.

“This decision is huge. It needs detailed analysis before it comes to full council for approval – and the Lichfield Lib Dems will give it that.

We hear loud and clear residents’ concerns about the lack of infrastructure and the poor state of our public services.

Residents often say to us that they are not against more housing being built. They understand the need and see their own friends and family struggling to find affordable housing in our area. 

So we are sympathetic to the argument that if a large new settlement was approved under a new Local Plan then the council would be able to more easily insist that new facilities such as schools, GP surgeries and roads are built.”

The Local Plan was submitted for examination last year, but could be axed in favour of a new approach if the cabinet and then full council give the proposals the go-ahead.

 

Cllr Paul Ray added:

“A new Local Plan will take three to four years to approve – will that set back housing delivery in the district?

The council has big projects that it has to deliver, such as Friarsgate, the cinema and leisure centre, and residents made that point very clearly in the May elections.

These projects will involve a significant amount of resource at the council, so if at the same time there is a new Local Plan to be prepared and delivered, will that soak up resource at the council which could slow down delivery of these projects?

Residents are expecting these projects to proceed at a pace. If this decision could impact these projects, we will be very concerned about that.

But a new Local Plan does present opportunities.

We all know that we desperately need more affordable and social housing in our area and the private rental market is just too expensive for too many in our community. A new Local Plan means that we can include tighter affordable and social housing requirements.

A new Local Plan could also mean that specific measures are included to tackle the poor public transport in our area and the climate emergency, such as solar panels on new homes and the installation of charging points and heat exchange points.

This could make a real difference.”