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Dismay as plans for Tamworth homes get through - by single vote

By Tamworth Herald  |  Posted: February 01, 2013

By Lee Kettle

  • Right. Local residents protested against the plans. Pictured from left are Amanda Kennedy, Ivor Evans, David Griffiths, Alan Clarke and Sharon Dewhirst.

  • Left. The land off Pennine Way where the homes will be built.

Comments (7)

CONCERNED residents were left dismayed after controversial plans which generated more than 1,500 complaints were given the go-ahead.

After a three-hour debate the outline application to build 94 homes on land off Pennine Way, Stonydelph was approved on Tuesday (January 29).

The proposal split Tamworth Borough Council's planning committee and was passed on the casting vote of chairman Councillor Evelyn Rowe.

Residents told the Herald they were disappointed by the vote as the application had prompted a total of 1,503 objection letters – one of the highest number ever received.

A similar application had been refused by the committee in January last year for 109 homes on the same site.

Explaining her support for the plans, Cllr Rowe said: "It's messy land and there is a need for something to be done to tidy it up.

"I feel the developers have gone away and addressed the concerns of residents."

More than 20 angry residents packed into the committee room for the meeting.

The outline proposal was for a layout of 17 two-bed, 57 three-bed and 20 four-bed homes, with 28 affordable homes within the development.

Objector Ken Forest said: "This proposal is the most harmful I have come across in all the 25 years that I have sat in planning meetings."

Kevin Usher and Kevin Caveney, of Stonydelph Residents' Association, also aired their views. Mr Usher told how local amenities in the area are already full.

Mr Caveney claimed that approval of the plans would be to "meet council targets" on housing needs, rather than to address the concerns of local residents.

Although both residents said the plans would increase traffic problems on the busy Pennine Way, Staffordshire County Council highways officers said they had no objections.

Speaking against the plans Cllr Chris Cooke received a round of applause from residents.

He put forward two reasons for refusal – one that the development would have an adverse effect on the visual amenity of the area, and another that housing needs could be met from "more appropriate sites" in the town.

Cllr Richard McDermid said that it would be "dangerous" for children living in the new estate to play near "one of Tamworth's busiest roads".

The final vote saw four members against and four members in favour of approval subject to conditions. The decision then fell down to Cllr Rowe's casting vote.

Cllr Jeremy Oates, who voted for the plans, told the Herald that he couldn't see any policy or planning reason against building on the site.

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7 comments

  • weskiwi  |  February 02 2013, 7:54PM

    Something is very much amiss, Cllr Chris. I feel a poem coming on. there is a lot of strangeness attached to this story. I replied right from the outset, and the story then disappeared ( and I can only read it by replying to comments on my inbox, otherwise, from my perspective it has disappeared). Originally I received two red arrows, which swiftly changed to ten green. That seemed abnormal, but forty four.................reckon that needs to be tendered to the Guiness Book of Records. The real conundrum as I see it, is, that with all these recommends, only two are recorded as commenting. Is there a fiendish plot tween the Herald and the council?

    Rate   6
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  • CllrChris  |  February 02 2013, 7:45PM

    Much as I would like to believe nearly 50 people have given my comments the green arrow - I have to say it's highly unlikely. Are these comment gradings working properly?

    Rate   3
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  • weskiwi  |  February 02 2013, 6:59PM

    Yes, I believe that the townspeople have been well and truly shafted by councillors that spend too much time making useless utterances, and will continue to do so, so long as the people keep voting for the same old, same old. Come on people out there, why do you keep voting for people that like to hear the sound of their own voices. Note the two examples above 1) the casting voter person * It is messy land and needs something to tidy it up?* and the solution, build loads of houses for the council coffers. These sort of people are so full of themselves, they need to go to political weightwatchers. 2). * I see no policy or planning reason against building on this site*? Cllr. Cooke says * piffle*, I say that the man is unable to think outside his political, and personal box. Over the years they have disfigured the town in so many ways, be it overbuild, run down areas, killing the town centre, whilst building up personal portfolios, and also sticking them on the end of their council responsibilities.

    Rate   7
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  • CllrChris  |  February 02 2013, 2:08PM

    Sorry - I've just got to comment again! Just seen Cllr Jeremy Oates' comment that he "couldn't see any planning or policy reason" against development. Piffle! I think it would be difficult for even the three blind monkeys to make such a comment! "None so blind ...... " etc. etc.

    Rate   48
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  • CllrChris  |  February 02 2013, 12:30PM

    I should correct the part that says my "given" reason for refusal was the affect on visual amenity. I did not say that. Instead one of the reasons was to do with the loss of public open space. This part of Stonydelph already has an official 50% shortfall in open space. After this land is built on the shortfall will be a ridiculously huge 70% on this over-developed part of town. The council tried it on that it was "not" public open space because it was private owned land. They must know that was pure wool-pulling-over-the-eyes nonsense and against thier own guidence and calculations of public open space. For this and so many other reasons passing this application has driven a coach and horses through government planning guidence and even the Council's own Local Plan policies. There is a lot more to be said about why this application was thoroughly bad for Tamworth. That is politics - another word for insanity in my view. I have no doubt it is driven by greed and money.

    Rate   53
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  • weskiwi  |  February 01 2013, 5:28PM

    Interesting. Two naysayers but no comment; they surely can't just be councillors, or part of the group wishing to build?

    Rate   5
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  • weskiwi  |  February 01 2013, 10:15AM

    What a great, great pity for the residents of Stoneydelph, that they have lost their battle with the council, over plans to build more houses on land close by; however, ignoring the so called close call, and the reliance of one person to cast the deciding vote (?), history should have been at the back of their minds before taking up cudgels. Where sticking up houses, factories, showrooms or supermarkets, TBC have a history of burying any open land under bricks and concrete; not, in my opinion for the benefit of anyone else but themselves. The residents may be accused of being a group of NIMBY's, which I disagree with, but so what if they are, are they not trying to preserve some open space, which we are in short supply? There was a time when councillors did a fine job in doing what was good for the townspeople, at little personal expense. Now, the town ( and others) have imposed numbers of salaried, pensioned, expenses paid people that have very little representation, but plenty to say, usually of a meaningless or childish outpouring. * It is messy land, and is a need to do something to tidy it up!!* Meaningless, childish? building houses was the only answer, is there something wrong with these people that thinks that open space is something to be put right? or, *I cannot see any policy or planning reason against the building on the site!*. Policy or planning? what about the 1500 + signatories to a petition opposing the build, wonder if this cllr. gave any thought to the feeling of those people? Each and every new build adds more vehicles on the road, whether private cars or commercial vehicles. By comparison, just how much effort or improvement has been generated to the road system, or the upkeep of same. In my opinion the roads are a disgrace, and movement, if it can be called that, is sluggish, that is even without the proliferation of traffic lights and pedestrian crossings. To the residents of Glascote, I would ask you to remember that you have an independant councillor, that is probably worth his weight in gold, and you should count yourselves extremely fortunate, as he is part of a dying breed of people that truly represent those that vote for him, as opposed to representing vested interests, be that business, or party.

    Rate   16
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