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Council asks neighbours Lichfield to refuse Arkall Farm development

Tamworth Borough Council has responded to neighbouring Lichfield District Council, asking the authority to refuse a planning application to build 1,000 homes, a school, shop and open space on the Arkall Farm site off Ashby Road.

Although Arkall Farm lies to the north of Tamworth, close to the Anker Valley site which already has planning permission for 535 homes, it comes under the jurisdiction of Lichfield District Council.

Lichfield’s Planning Committee is expected to make a decision on the application next month. Tamworth Borough Council has formally objected to the proposal and is asking the authority to refuse permission.

Tamworth members are concerned that the development of an extra 1,000 homes in the Ashby Road area would put undue pressure on the road network, which would be unable to support the extra traffic.

The applicant has provided traffic studies that show that the Ashby Road and Gungate corridor could support traffic from 200 new homes without any further improvements, while planned improvements to the Fountain Junction would increase that number to 300. They then suggest monitoring the impact of development and building more homes when conditions allow, up to a total of 1,000.

Last year, Tamworth Borough Council granted permission for 535 houses on the Anker valley site, based on studies at the time which suggested that there was no scope for any further development without major improvements to the surrounding roads.

As the Arkall Farm site is in the Lichfield District Council area, Tamworth would receive no New Homes Bonus or extra Council Tax, but all the impact from the new development would fall on Tamworth.

Tamworth Borough Council members believe that Lichfield also needs to consider how the infrastructure to support this development will be delivered, particularly schools.

At last week’s Cabinet meeting, members voted to formally write to Lichfield District Council to submit their objections and ask that the application be refused.

Cllr Steve Claymore, Cabinet member for Regeneration, said: “The Borough Council urges Lichfield District Council to refuse this application. We are not opposed to the principle of growth, but growth has to be managed and sustainable.

“We remain concerned that by approving this application for up to 1,000 houses but applying a condition to restrict the numbers will not lead to good planning or unsustainable development, neither will it deliver the much-needed infrastructure and connectivity that future communities deserve.

“Tamworth Borough Council has previously reduced the scale of the proposed Anker Valley development in the Local Plan from 1,150 homes, following advice from consultants that the local highways network was not capable of supporting a development of that size.

“The roads in that area are already at capacity and will not be unable to support this development planned for Arkall Farm.”

Members also included in the submission to Lichfield District Council the proviso that, if the Arkall Farm development is given planning permission, a legally-binding Section 106 agreement should be in place, to secure conditions on highways improvements, education and leisure contributions, housing types and the mix of affordable housing.