A TAMWORTH councillor has welcomed the dismissal of a highly-debated planning application.
Cllr Tony Madge, for Stonydelph, has spoken to the Herald of his delight after an application to build on land off the busy Glascote Road was thrown out by the Planning Inspectorate last week.
The application for cluster of industrial units on land off the B5000 was dismissed by Tamworth Borough Council's planning committee back in February 2014.
An appeal was then lodged by Sibson Mill Properties which has now been dismissed by Inspector Victoria Lucas-Gosnold, appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
Cllr Madge described the outcome as "excellent news". "The nice thing is that common sense has prevailed and it's the local people that have won," said Cllr Madge, who spoke out against the proposals prior to being voted on to the council in May.
"Everyone said the people wouldn't win it from the start but they fought it hard and won."
If approved, the site would been been home to 12 light industrial units plus associated access, parking and refuse areas.
At the heart of original objections were fears over destroying a natural habitat, with particular reference to badgers.
This was re-addressed in Inspector Lucas-Gosnold's findings. Explaining the decision to refuse permission, her report says: "The main issue is the effect of the development proposed on protected species, specifically bats and badgers.
"Drawing matters together, there is a reasonable suspicion that bats are present on the appeal site. Badgers are also active on the site.
"I have found that, in the absence of a detailed bat survey, badger survey and badger mitigation strategy, there is insufficient information before me to assess whether the proposal would be harmful to bats or badgers. Both bats and badgers are protected species and this matter therefore attracts significant weight."
Inspector Lucas-Gosnold noted that the proposal would "incorporate some biodiversity mitigation and enhancement measures which would be of some environmental benefit".
She also highlighted that the proposal would create additional jobs "both during the construction and operational phases of the industrial units".
But, she concluded: "Therefore, whilst the benefits of the proposal are recognised, I consider that they do not outweigh the harm that I have identified."
Cllr Madge added: "This decision to dismiss the appeal has vindicated the hard work put in by all concerned and the decision of the planning committee.
"I only hope now that the wildlife can be left alone to return to this land and start again.
"We must be mindful of the environment and what is around us.
"We have to be proud of Tamworth, the historical capital of Mercia. If we remove all that's green we will be an unattractive place to visit.
"Tamworth is worth more than that, let's not sell ourselves short in the rush to build on every inch of land we have left."