Homes plan for empty Willenhall club rejected over ‘Cannock Chase tax’

Plans to transform a vandal-hit derelict old club in Willenhall into new housing have been rejected due to a controversial ‘Cannock Chase tax’.

The plans to build homes on the site of an empty club have been rejected over ‘Cannock Chase tax’. Photo: Google Street Map
The plans to build homes on the site of an empty club have been rejected over ‘Cannock Chase tax’. Photo: Google Street Map

Developer A&H Propco Ltd was looking to build 11 new homes on the site of the former New Invention Working Men’s Victory Club, on Lichfield Road, which has lain empty for years.

But the proposal has been thrown out by Walsall Council planning officers because it fell within the 15km zone of the Cannock Chase Special Area Of Conservation for which the applicants had not provided any mitigation for.

Legislation requires every potential development falling within the zone to assess the impact it might have on the beauty spot.

Part of the deal requires developers to pay £290.58 per new dwelling to go towards the upkeep.

Officers also said there was also insufficient information that an acceptable drainage strategy could be achieved while the council and developer had failed to secure an open space contribution agreement.

In the application, agents JBVJ Architects said: “The proposal offers the redevelopment of a neglected site that is in need of repair.

“The remote and derelict nature of the site attracts vandalism given the secluded nature particularly to the rear of the site which backs onto private existing residential gardens.

“Through appropriate analysis and design development the proposal will provide a positive contribution to the street scene and offers economic benefits and high quality housing contributing to the growth of Willenhall.

“Creating a high-quality residential development will not only fit in well with the existing architectural context, but will also address the issues of the site and enhance the street frontage drastically.

“In addition to this it will contribute to the housing demand and provide much need character homes within the area.”

Last year, council bosses reluctantly signed up to be part of Cannock Chase Special Area of Conservation which they said had been imposed upon them by law.

Leader Mike Bird labelled it the ‘Cannock Chase tax’ and said they were being ‘bullied and blackmailed’ into it because not doing so would prevent housing developments from taking place.

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