Michael Fabricant has written to the Government Office for the West Midlands strongly opposing the Government’s proposals to build between 417,100 and 445,600 new homes in the region over the 366,000 new homes previously agreed. "I will also re-assert my strong objection already lodged with Lichfield District Council for the construction of 5,000 new homes being considered for Fradley which is in addition to the 8,000 new homes already planned across Lichfield District" says Michael.
"And I give this warning to potential developers: in the light of the House of Commons Report questioning the level of house construction and the impact the Fradley development will have on Lichfield, I will fight to ensure that an incoming Conservative Government – if we are elected – will stop the development in its tracks whatever the current Labour Government might say. With a general election less than 20 months away, the developers should think twice about whether this is a good investment for their shareholders" Michael says. "Their attempts at an ‘eco town’ were thrown out. This very un-eco town will go the same way."
On November 3rd, The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee issued a report "Greener homes for the future? An environmental analysis of the Government’s house-building plans". The report concluded with these recommendations (amongst others).
3. We recommend that the Government urgently reviews the assumptions on which the 3 million homes target was based and whether it is still justified on the basis of the latest economic growth projections, fundamental changes in the mortgage market and house prices which are falling anyway.
5. We recommend that the Government suspends the implementation of its regional spatial strategies until it has carried out and published an environmental appraisal of its house-building targets.
19. Given existing planning policy, we are concerned that by continuing to impose high national house-building targets and regional plans during a market downturn, the effect of Government policy is to make it impossible for local authorities to prevent planning permission being granted for development on land that is not currently needed and that would not otherwise be granted. Presented with an excess of available land, it is likely developers will build new developments on greenfield sites in preference to developing brownfield sites within the boundaries of existing settlements. We recommend that Government ensures this does not happen by revising urgently its targets and regional plans in the light of current market conditions, and by reintroducing a clear sequential test in favour of brownfield sites into planning policy.
Michael says: "Ninety percent of this development at Fradley will be on Greenfield land in direct conflict with supposed Government policy and the recommendations of the Environmental Audit Committee. The development will be enormous and permanently alter the character of Lichfield – it is 5 times the size of the Walsall road development, twice the size of Boley Park, and two and a half times the size of Fradley and Alrewas combined! It will create a further 12,000 residents and 7,500 cars with added demands on our roads, schools, and already over-stretched medical facilities.
"The worst thing that might happen is a piece-meal development over twenty or more years with construction traffic and inadequate infrastructure blighting the area for decades to come.
"It is important that residents in Fradley, Alrewas, Boley Park, and other areas of Lichfield which will be affected write to the District Council to object to the application: 08/00324/OUTM. If anyone is in any doubt about how to go about this, they should contact ‘Fradley Against Curborough Town’ by emailing FACT@accamail.com or phoning 01283 890 004 or logging onto www.factinfo.co.uk Michael adds.
A copy of the Environmental Audit Committee Report can be downloaded from here: