Dismay as plans for Tamworth homes get through - by single vote
CONCERNED residents were left dismayed after controversial plans which generated more than 1,500 complaints were given the go-ahead.
After a three-hour debate the outline application to build 94 homes on land off Pennine Way, Stonydelph was approved on Tuesday (January 29).
The proposal split Tamworth Borough Council's planning committee and was passed on the casting vote of chairman Councillor Evelyn Rowe.
Residents told the Herald they were disappointed by the vote as the application had prompted a total of 1,503 objection letters – one of the highest number ever received.
A similar application had been refused by the committee in January last year for 109 homes on the same site.
Explaining her support for the plans, Cllr Rowe said: "It's messy land and there is a need for something to be done to tidy it up.
"I feel the developers have gone away and addressed the concerns of residents."
More than 20 angry residents packed into the committee room for the meeting.
The outline proposal was for a layout of 17 two-bed, 57 three-bed and 20 four-bed homes, with 28 affordable homes within the development.
Objector Ken Forest said: "This proposal is the most harmful I have come across in all the 25 years that I have sat in planning meetings."
Kevin Usher and Kevin Caveney, of Stonydelph Residents' Association, also aired their views. Mr Usher told how local amenities in the area are already full.
Mr Caveney claimed that approval of the plans would be to "meet council targets" on housing needs, rather than to address the concerns of local residents.
Although both residents said the plans would increase traffic problems on the busy Pennine Way, Staffordshire County Council highways officers said they had no objections.
Speaking against the plans Cllr Chris Cooke received a round of applause from residents.
He put forward two reasons for refusal – one that the development would have an adverse effect on the visual amenity of the area, and another that housing needs could be met from "more appropriate sites" in the town.
Cllr Richard McDermid said that it would be "dangerous" for children living in the new estate to play near "one of Tamworth's busiest roads".
The final vote saw four members against and four members in favour of approval subject to conditions. The decision then fell down to Cllr Rowe's casting vote.
Cllr Jeremy Oates, who voted for the plans, told the Herald that he couldn't see any policy or planning reason against building on the site.