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Experts to be called in over village homes battle

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 31, 2014

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PLANNING experts are to be drafted in by councillors battling to prevent nearly 150 homes from being built in an East Staffordshire village.

Alrewas Parish Council is preparing to spend £3,000 on hiring a team of consultants to scrutinise proposals to build a new estate north of Dark Lane, which members believe is unsuitable for the village.

The authority is hopeful the experts will be able to present a stronger case to decision makers as to why it should not be allowed to go ahead, while residents could be approached to help foot part of the £3,000 bill.

The parish council has listed a number of reasons for its objection to the 144-home development, including traffic, lack of school places, fears it would be built near a flood plain and the potential to erode its status as a free-standing village.

Village planning chief Will Chapman said the decision to call in the consultants had the backing of residents, some of whom have already contributed towards the cost.

He said: “The parish council held a public meeting, which was very well attended, certainly 100 people came, and it was decided that the parish council would pay for consultants, including a traffic expert, planning expert and hydrologist.

“We are amateurs, we have a view but they are the experts and they can challenge it if they feel it needs to be challenged.”

Mr Chapman said he was hopeful having the experts on board will give them a better chance of achieving the result they want.

He said: “We will be armed with information and the consultants can tell us what we ought to be saying. We may be asking for more money, but some people have already offered their help.”

The parish council and neighbourhood plan team have been doing their best to uncover evidence against the plan, with photos taken of the area recently appearing to show it under water.

However, developer Lioncourt Homes said it has liaised with the Environment Agency throughout the planning process, which has not raised any concerns.

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