Councillor calls for assurances that £650,000 will be spent in Norton Canes where houses are being built

A councillor has called for assurances that £650,000 given by a developer set to build hundreds of homes in Norton Canes will only be spent in that area.

Cannock Chase District Council
Cannock Chase District Council

Councillor John Preece made the call over the funding known as a Section 106 agreement which is earmarked for community facilities in the district.

Councillor Preece, who represents Norton Canes, said the area was in need of badminton courts and currently residents have to go outside the district to use facilities in Burntwood. A potential site for indoor sports facilities has been identified in Norton Canes, he added.

Speaking at Wednesday’s full council meeting he said: "Norton Canes has provided nearly 25 per cent of all the housing in the district over the current local plan period, and as such this has created an unprecedented level of pressure in the community on infrastructure, including increased demand for indoor sport and leisure facilities within the village.

"As part of the 106 agreements from the Norton Hall Meadow estate development a sum of money is due to be paid by developers to this council for formal sport and recreational facilities in Norton Canes and/or Heath Hayes Park.

“The previous leader of the council, Councillor [George] Adamson, had given Councillors Newbury, Stretton and myself assurances that as the decision to spend this money would be made by the cabinet, he would ensure that this money would be only spent on projects in Norton Canes in recognition of the position that Norton Canes faces with respect to increased population.

"Can the leader of the council give similar assurances that when the money is paid to the council by developers the money will be for facilities, such as an indoor sports and youth centre, within Norton Canes?"

But Councillor Olivia Lyons, who became the new leader of Cannock Chase Council in May, said she would not make informal promises that bound the council without evidence.

She added: “There has been significant development in Norton Canes. That application was considered in 2011 and as part of that process a Section 106 agreement was reached. In reaching that agreement the planning committee did consider the challenges Councillor Preece has outlined today.

"As chairman of Norton Canes Parish Council Councillor Preece will be aware funding has been identified for additional facilities. Councillor Adrienne Fitzgerald was delighted to go to the Cema in respect of launching a consultation with regards to the design of the new play area.

"Norton Canes Neighbourhood Plan is considering the use of Section 106 funds within Norton Canes and they are looking to identify a site for an indoor sports and leisure facility as part of that process.

"Residents must be at the heart of all this council does and any decision this council makes must be well-informed. We must achieve fairness and equality across all areas of Cannock Chase.

"All applications and proposed schemes will be considered on their individual merit and decisions will be made on evidence. It would be wrong of me to stand up and bind this council on something when there is no proposal in front of us to consider."

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