Dozens of new homes approved for land between two South Staffs villages

Dozens of new homes are set to be built on former mining land between two South Staffordshire villages despite opposition from more than 2,000 people.

Street scene images submitted as part of the application
Street scene images submitted as part of the application

A new car park to serve nearby Landywood Railway Station is also planned as part of the development of land south of Landywood Lane, as well as 2.2 hectares (5.4 acres) of public open space.

South Staffordshire Council’s planning committee heard on Tuesday that the 50 new homes would include six bungalows, 10 properties for social rent and 10 for shared ownership.

The land between Great Wyrley and Cheslyn Hay has previously been earmarked for housing in the council’s 2018 Site Allocations Document.

But 88 objections to the plans were submitted to South Staffordshire Council and a petition was signed by 2,000 people.

Ian Emery, who spoke against the application at the meeting, said: “Although this application is in Great Wyrley it’s adjacent to the parish border (with Cheslyn Hay). The density of properties in Cheslyn Hay is already greater than any other part of South Staffordshire.

“The majority of residents have overwhelmingly opposed applications on this site. National policy protects green belt land and Cheslyn Hay Parish Council objects to any development on the Green Belt.

“It was at one point an open cast mine and there are issues related to stability on the site which make it totally unsuitable for development. Brownfield sites should be developed first.

“This development will create significant urban sprawl between the two villages and this will lead to the loss of identity for both villages. We urge South Staffordshire Council to listen to residents.”

The committee was told the land was not currently designated as part of the green belt however.

Neil Cox, an agent who spoke in support of the plans, said: “The application is a sustainable development of 50 homes within a main key service village.

“It includes a 40-vehicle car park to support Landywood Station and the site will have open space including a children’s play area.

“The proposal includes 40 per cent affordable housing and six bungalows. All homes have been designed to meet national standards.”

The application was recommended for approval by planning officers. The committee voted to pass the plans but not all members were in favour.

Councillor Mike Boyle said the area was historically known as a “green lung” for the local area and planting woodland to commemorate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee would be a better use for the site.

Councillor Penny Allen said: “I want to express my concern, having looked at the number of objections. I believe strongly gaps should be left between communities and the green belt should be retained.

“I’m going to vote against this. I see the volume of objections and I feel seriously concerned about the condition of the site.”

Councillor Dave Lockley said: “I think most people in Cheslyn Hay and Great Wyrley have been against applications on this land from the start. It should come as no surprise to anyone that we are against it.”

But Councillor Janet Johnson said: “Cheslyn Hay objects to this application but it isn’t in Cheslyn Hay. This piece of land was taken out of the green belt in 2018.

“We desperately need social housing in Great Wyrley and it’s necessary for us to have properties for our young people to live in the village. That isn’t available at the moment.”

Councillor Rita Hesletine said: “It’s about there being a need for housing. We want to encourage our residents to stay in the villages but if there isn’t the right sort of houses for them that isn’t going to happen.”

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