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Latest – Linthouse Lane & Kitchen Lane

I just want to make things as clear as possible about the issues relating to the potential of building homes on South Staffordshire land that fronts Linthouse Lane and Kitchen Lane. I have written a number of information notes  on this web site and my other Social Media sites. I have done this since I found out about the Greenbelt threats, back in April 2018. These comments have been reported widely in media and other outlets. Our intention is to keep Wednesfield residents informed of news relating to the Greenbelt.

First the land in question lies in South Staffordshire and not in the City of Wolverhampton. The Planning Authority is South Staffordshire and Staffordshire County Council. It is these Authorities that will be the primary authorities dealing with developments inside Staffordshire.

I have always tried to ensure that we place information here in Wednesfield North where Local Residents can read and avail themselves of the all latest proposals.

Last year on the 18th April 2018, I informed Wednesfield North residents of South Staffordshire plans that could lead to new homes being constructed on what is currently Green Belt land in South Staffordshire. This land is within the Staffordshire boundary, but fronting Kitchen Lane and Linthouse Lane.

That message in April 2018 last year was primarily aimed at Wednesfield North constituents who have an interest, or who are interested in the announced proposal by developers to build 2,500 homes on what is current ‘Green Belt’ land within the Parish of Essington and within the District Boundary of South Staffordshire D.C.

At that time South Staffordshire District Council were still finalising work on their current Site Allocations document (SAD) but then they switched and began working on the review of their Local Plan.

This document was to set out strategic growth options for South Staffordshire and consider what levels of growth can be accommodated.  They further informed me that they were updating their Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA) which will contain all the sites suggested to them (including Linthouse Lane) and this will be the starting point for site options.

Wednesfield North City Councillors Mary Bateman, Phil Bateman, and Rita Potter have asked that their contact details be added to South Staffordshire District Councils Local Plan database, and that means that we will receive automatic updates on local planning matters.

I went onto urge any of our Wednesfield North constituents or local residents in Wednesfield who wish to be added to the database, to do so, by sending their email address to localplans@sstaffs.gov.uk .

What is being waited for is the  next stage, South Staffordshire’s work which is based on their “Preferred Options Consultation”, which was  programmed to be ready for  March/April 2020.”

Clearly there is still some work taking place, in Staffordshire

Importantly the consultation has yet to start. So if you are an interested person – or a local residents to email and ask that your names and interests are addressed when the South Staffordshire Plan starts to relate to proposals.

The email address is  localplans@sstaffs.gov.uk. Please do not contact me. Its South Staffordshire DC who are working on the planning issues within their Borough and Districts..

In the meantime, until we see what is being proposed it’s important that we do not start shouting and demanding until we know what is down in Black and White.

Residents should know that in every forum that deals with strategic planning in Wolverhampton. We have continued to ensure that City of Wolverhampton Officials know how strong local feelings in Wednesfield are – against the information that is being discussed about the erosion of this much loved Greenbelt.

Mary and I attended a City of Wolverhampton Vibrant City Scrutiny Panel, where the future of Wolverhampton Housing strategy was discussed by City Councillors. It was a good opportunity in a public forum in Wolverhampton to set some of the strong views we know are being aired in Wednesfield – into the public record in City of Wolverhampton.

There is a big Governmental push being organised over the next decade for more housing to be constructed across the nation. Here is what was being discussed on the 11th April 2019.

The Government has set a housing target nationally of 300,000 new homes per year by 2026.

The Government have set out where their priority locations are for new homes.

As part of the targets it is anticipated that 50,000 new houses will be needed across the West Midlands conurbation. The seven district and City Councils, have set themselves in what is the Black Country Core Strategy, a further target of 63,000 additional homes to be delivered over the period 2006-26 to accommodate the conurbations growing population.

Currently the City Council own around 22,000 homes through its Wolverhampton Homes company.

The target for new dwellings in Wolverhampton is set at 13,400 homes or 640 homes each year. 5640 homes have been built up until 2018. Wolverhampton is 16% above the target

The Black Country strategy aims to provide a minimum 550 new affordable homes each year.

Much of Wolverhampton commitment for new homes will be based in three action areas.  Bilston corridor, Stafford Road area action plan, and Wolverhampton City Centre action planning area.

There are currently smaller sites that are being developed in Wednesfield the newly announced Marches site in Lakefield Road (246 dwellings) and the Danesmore site 52 homes now almost completed in Ashmore Park.

South Staffordshire District Council also has a housing plan. That is currently being put together and it will I am informed be ready for consultation soon. It is this plan that holds the most contentious issues for Wednesfield.

Its known already that people from Wolverhampton have been moving towards South Staffordshire for a number of years statistics inform us that between 2013-2017 6,240 people moved from our city to South Staffordshire that is 12% of all moves. With 4,460 making the move in the opposite direction.

It was against this backdrop that both Mary and I warned the Scrutiny Board to be aware of our growing concern about developers eyeing the current green belt and agricultural land that runs the boundary between Essington and Wednesfield.

We warned that the local residents in Wednesfield North were very strongly against the loss of what they see as the Wednesfield and Wolverhampton North Easts ‘Green Lungs’.

It is proposals being mooted by developers that first alerted us to the suggestion  that they want to build 2,500 homes within South Staffordshire but on land that is used and enjoyed by Wolverhampton and Wednesfield residents for leisure amenity, wildlife and heritage walks.

This land is fronted by Linthouse Lane and Kitchen Lane and Woodend Road.

Mary and I warned our colleagues on the Scrutiny Panel on the 11th April 2019 that this type of action would be very much withstood by the three Wednesfield North Councillors. We told the Panel that we are waiting to see what the South Staffordshire plans actually says.

We informed the panel that whilst we were in favour of using ‘brownfield’ site for building new homes. We were very much against the loss of Green Belt amenity in an area like Wednesfield which already suffers from below average green space.

I also warned the Panel that it was dangerous to bring a Housing and Strategy briefing note and presentation, to the Panel. When the important South Staffordshire Preferred Option Consultation paper was not amongst the briefing notes for Panel consideration. Mary and I spoke powerfully with regards to this issue. We requested Wolverhampton’s officers go back and amend proposals reflecting the statement and review the comments that your Wednesfield North Councillors made.”

South Staffordshire will use the results of their study, and other evidence they have commissioned separately, to select preferred sites for their next stage of consultation.

The next stage is the “Preferred Options Consultation”, which was programmed Is I understand for March/April 2020.

We will keep residents informed as the information becomes available. On July 9th 2019  I met Jenny Lewington of Wolverhampton Homes Housing Strategy team. Where I asked if there was any further information that was available about these issues. – There was not any relevant new information.

I hope this Blog helps interested persons to be aware of the situation as it is today.

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Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more

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