The application is available to view on Lichfield District’s website and you can also download the full list of documents including the application and the responses of consultees and neighbours.
The developer is Barwood, and their page on the development provides an aerial image showing the extent of the site and how much land will be affected, but (unsurprisingly) fails to mention any of the potential negative impacts the development will have. The masterplan shown on their website is not the same as the one they’ve included in the application, so it’s worth looking at the application documents to get a better view of what Lichfield District Council have been presented with.
Some of the problems with the proposed development:
- when assessed against the adopted statutory policy framework, the application proposal fails to comply (as assessed by third party professional planning consultants)
- it doesn’t fit with emerging planning policy either
- it will generate too much traffic and exceed the available highways capacity (validated by the Highways Authority suggestion that the application be refused). In peak hours, blockages on the Ashby Road where it enters Tamworth have caused queues over 3 miles long in minutes. When the M42 is closed between J11 and J10 (which happens more frequently than you think) most of the traffic uses the Ashby Road into Tamworth, and can cause similar queues.
- Barwood includes a “commitment to contributing towards wider infrastructure improvements, including funding of the Gungate corridor improvements and forward-funding of the Anker Valley Relief road” – giving the impression that they’ll fund this to reduce the extra traffic on Ashby Road. But, according to Tamworth Borough Council “…there is no requirement within the emerging Tamworth’s Local Plan for the Anker Valley Link Road to be constructed and it is correct not to assume it will happen”, i.e. the Anker Valley Link Road may never be built
- it will almost definitely lead to increased water run-off leading to more frequent and more serious flooding north of the site on the Syerscote Lane between Wigginton and Haunton.
- several of the surveys which have been used to justify its viability, and which are supposed to inform the impartial decision-making of the Lichfield District Planning Committee, appear to have been carried out to a poor standard, with omissions, inaccuracies, and selective presentation of the facts. Some of them appear to have been conducted almost entirely from behind a desk, as statements made within them are clearly wrong when checked on the ground.
- the application plays down the impact on heritage and design, and their heritage report entirely misses out the fact that there is a Grade II listed building (other than Arkall Farm) with direct views into the site, which hasn’t been included as part of their assessment
- the application fails to properly assess the landscape and visual impact of the proposed development, claiming that the railway line forms a visual barrier that will ‘hide’ the development from Browns Lane and Wigginton when it doesn’t as it’s in a cutting. Not all of the public sites which they state have views into the site, have been included within their landscape and visual impact assessment so only part of a picture has been presented to Lichfield District Council
- it doesn’t make provision for secondary schools and Staffs Schools Organisation have estimated that £3.5m will be needed to fund the education of all the extra secondary school kids. The site is in Rawlett School catchment area but the Landau Forte Academy QEMS is also nearby and schools across Tamworth are already at capacity
- Barwood’s website proposes that “a New Homes Bonus payment from Central Government of around £7.6m, which can be used to fund and improve local services” and “financial contributions towards secondary school provision, to ensure local schools are not overburdened” is misleading – this land is in Lichfield District Council so any New Homes Bonus, financial contributions and council taxes will go to Lichfield and their schools – not Tamworth’s where the extra school children will be attending