Anger as Codsall commuter car park approved
A controversial car park for train commuters will be built in a village - despite fierce opposition from campaigners.
The 30-space car park will be created in Codsall in the hope of solving the village's parking problems which have seen cars clogging up side streets.
However, there were dozens of objections to the plan as the car park will be built on green belt land.
Protesters packed out South Staffordshire's council chamber, many wearing t-shirts displaying the words 'no to car park' but their efforts were in vain as the application from Codsall Parish Council, which owns the land, was approved.
There were mixed views from district councillors during a lengthy debate on whether the car park plan should be allowed to go through, but many insisted it was desperately needed.
The car park will be built on Oaken Lanes, near Codsall train station. People who live in Chapel Lane, Broadway and Long Acre have complained about cars being left outside their homes by commuters catching the train to work.
Codsall Parish Council chairman Brian Holland told the meeting: "The simple fact is we have to do something about the car parking problem.
"Residents are keen to get this issue resolved and end the blight on their lives from on-street parking."
Councillor Kath Parry said: "My view is if this is not allowed to go ahead the village will be choked with cars. Drivers will park anywhere they can find a space."
Codsall councillor John Michell claimed the car park was supported 'on the whole' in the village and said campaigners present were 'a small group of vociferous objectors'.
But some councillors were unhappy at letting the green belt land go, including planning committee chairman Brian Cox who said he was 'disappointed' when he saw the site was a large open field.
Councillor Bernard Williams added: "We are saying 'here's a field, let's put down some concrete'.
"Our green belt land is precious like anybody else's. Some areas don't have a lot of green belt and we need to protect it."
Emotions ran high following the decision, which was carried by 21 votes to eight, with some campaigners making their feelings known to the council, one shouting 'shame on you' as she left.
Resident Stacey Khan, aged 53, said: "We are very disappointed by this result from a predominantly Conservative council.
"I feel this will provide little or no benefit to the community as a whole."
Stephen Skinner insisted campaigners were ready to fight on and could take the case to the Local Government Ombudsman.
He said: "I am deeply disappointed. They have ignored all of the people they are supposed to serve and represent."