On Saturday 8th April, Michael Fabricant met with Peter Button and Lisa Saltmarsh and others who are members of the Burntwood & Hammerwich Action Groups who are seeking a better design for local planning in the area.
“I very much welcomed the meeting with the Groups which was very constructive. I was very impressed with their holistic approach for the area taking into account housing needs, the need to preserve green belt, the use brownfield sites wherever possible, and the creation of a new shopping heart for Burntwood” says Michael.
“Burntwood, being a merged conurbation of four towns, has resulted in the area lacking a commercial heart and town centre. Sankeys Corner is the nearest thing to it, but it looks tired and run down.
“The District Council have exciting plans for Burntwood, but it will still result in dispersed shopping areas.
“The Action Groups’ plans involve land swaps which could result in the redevelopment of Sankeys Corner as a major new shopping heart combined with a new road which would enable the part of Cannock Road by the shopping area to be pedestrianised. In turn this would provide a link with the current commercial development planned immediately south of Cannock Road. Their plans also involve moving the health centre for housing redevelopment and moving it closer to Morrison’s. Most of the additional housing required for Burntwood would be provided on existing and disused industrial land.
“I understand that the Action Group have had discussions with developers which make this all a possibility.
“However, I am acutely aware that this will throw many balls in the air requiring the cooperation of diverse bodies including Lichfield District Council, County Highways, the NHS, property developers, and others. It will also require changes to the Local Plan though I believe that needs to be modified anyway to make it more watertight following recent decisions by Whitehall planners which have overturned the Plan.
“I know that Burntwood Town Council are broadly in favour of these proposals. I will be speaking with the District Council to determine whether these changes can be considered seriously and perhaps adopted.
“Burntwood needs a proper town centre and a shopping focus. These plans could deliver it.”
Photo shows (l to r) Peter Button, Michael Fabricant, Lisa Saltmarsh and one of their plans for a ‘Better Burntwood’