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STAFFORDSHIRE: New homes approved despite more than 100 objections

STAFFORDSHIRE: New homes approved despite more than 100 objections

Image: LDRS

A new housing development has been given the go-ahead in a South Staffordshire village despite more than 100 people objecting to the plans – and fears it will affect an historic site.

The land south of White Hill in Kinver has been removed from the Green Belt and designated for housing in South Staffordshire Council’s latest Site Allocations Document.

But an application to build up to 40 new properties on the land met with strong objections from dozens of residents who fear it will lead to an even larger housing development. Concerns have also been raised by South Staffordshire MP Gavin Williamson.

On Tuesday (January 26) South Staffordshire Council’s planning committee met virtually to consider the application.

A statement from Fiona Holloway, on behalf of the Kinver Green Belt Action Group, said: “One of the plans submitted by the developer clearly shows an estate road leading to the southern boundary of the site. The council must not be misled.

“This application for 40 houses merely paves the way for another 74 homes – in other words a major development. If this application is allowed the next logical step will inevitably follow.

“What is proposed involves a major encroachment on the south of Kinver Edge, a remnant of ancient Mercian forest which contains an Iron Age hill fort and the rock houses. It is a national asset and it must be preserved. The development will spoil the setting of Kinver Edge for future generations.

“There are no exceptional circumstances to justify whatsoever the removal of this site from the Green Belt. The fact there are no exceptional circumstances means fundamental planning policy has been ignored.”

The application was recommended for approval by planning officers ahead of the meeting. Committee members were told by chairman Terry Mason they were there to consider the application submitted and not any future speculative developments that may be proposed for safeguarded land.

Mark Wright, who spoke in support of the application, said: “Trebor Developments have been working with the local authority for over five years to bring this site forward. We are mindful the application has attracted a lot of interest and objections.

“We were able to hold a public consultation in February last year and we amended the plans for 40 dwellings. We now have an indicative plan for 38 homes and it has a better layout of open space.

“Forty per cent of properties are affordable housing. Local housing associations have indicated interest in delivering these units as a mix of social rented and shared ownership housing.

“Our office has received many phone calls; people in Kinver have contacted us to express interest in properties, from smaller starter units to  family houses and bungalows.

“We have also committed to a contribution of £30,000 that can be used by the parish council to deliver more play equipment or improve existing play facilities in the village. We have also agreed a significant contribution of £46,800 which will be spent on biodiversity improvements in the village area.”

All committee members but one voted to approve the application.

Ward councillor Lin Hingley, who voted against approval, raised concerns about flooding and drainage.

She added: “I am sorry to see this land go. There are the most beautiful ancient meadows and we won’t get them again in Kinver. Once they are gone they are gone forever.”

Councillor Mike Lawrence said: “I would prefer to see green fields remain as green fields.

“But there are pressures coming from national Government to deliver homes across the UK. Every planning authority across the country is required to find sites that can be delivered.”

Words: Kerry Ashdown, Local Democracy Reporter

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