09:48 Tuesday 28 January 2014

Canal group opposes plans for 151 homes

Written byROB SMYTH

A GROUP of canal enthusiasts have come out against plans to build a massive new housing development on the edge of East Staffordshire.

The Inland Waterways Association in the area has formally opposed plans for 151 homes near Dark Lane, in Alrewas, saying that it would ‘damage’ the nearby rural environment and the ‘heritage, amenity value, tourism and economic benefits’ of the Trent and Mersey Canal.

If approved by Lichfield District Council, the scheme would be on agricultural land north of Dark Lane bordered to the west by the Trent and Mersey Canal and to the east by fields and the A38.

A statement from the group to council planners said: “The green fields adjacent to the canal lie within the Alrewas Conservation Area and built development here would damage the historic rural setting of the Trent and Mersey canal and diminish its attractiveness for visitors and people who use the towpath.

“The present view from the canal is of open countryside beyond the mooring above Alrewas Lock.

“Although access to the mooring would be preserved, the view would be of five houses and the impact would be substantially adverse.

“Provision for six new canal boat mooring and possible access to a community field does not outweigh the damage to the existing canal environment from the proposed canalside housing.

“The proposed additional mooring are on the River Trent section that is subject to intermittent flooding and would not be suitable as long term moorings although they may have some limited value as short lived visitor moorings.

“The site lies entirely outside the village settlement boundary and, although the local plan has not been finally approved, the intention is clear that a large scale housing development, providing all or most or most of the allocation outside the village boundary and which damages the rural environment of the Trent and Mersey Canal, is contrary to the plan and should be refused.

“For the council to do anything else would undermine their own local plan and local democracy. Therefore we object to the application.”

A full report for debate and decision making will be presented to councillors later this year.

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