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Angry villagers protesting housing plans in Gnosall hand 850-name petition to Staffordshire County Council

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: December 13, 2013

By Robin Scott

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ANGRY villagers called on the county council to lead by example and not take advantage of a ‘lacuna in planning law’ after handing in a petition of nearly 850 names opposed to housing plans in Gnosall.

Members of local action group Gnosall Residents against Indiscriminate Development (GRID) handed a petition of 844 signatures to the chairman of Staffordshire County Council ahead of today’s cabinet meeting.

Gnosall Parish Councillor Mary Booth, who handed the petition over with fellow campaigner Rob Pritchard, told the Newsletter: “This was an amazing total, 844 signatures gathered in just one week.

“It shows the strength of local feeling against the proposals to build on County farm land outside the village boundary.”

Mrs Booth said local people were upset that the county council was pushing ahead with its plans at a period when neither Stafford Borough Council’s Local Plan or Gnosall’s Neighbourhood Plan had been completed.

“They can understand private developers seeking to make use of the current lacuna in planning laws, but they feel that the County Council should lead by example, and refrain from doing so,” she said. “The draft Stafford Borough Local Plan, which is currently being reviewed by an inspector, proposes about 600 new homes in key service villages built over 20 years.

“Gnosall people feel they could all end up in the green fields around their village instead of being spread around the 12 key service villages.”

Staffordshire County Council are in the process of seeking planning permission for 150 homes on land off the A518 in addition to 75 homes already granted outline planning permission on Lowfield Lane put forward by Providence Land Ltd.

Mrs Booth added: “We now await consideration of our petition by Staffordshire County Council and will keep pressing them to withdraw their planning application.”

The full text of the petition is:

The residents of Gnosall and surrounding area who have signed below hereby petition the members of Staffordshire County Council regarding a matter of considerable concern to them with reference to the proposal to sell county farm land at Gnosall for housing development.

The overwhelming weight of local public opinion is against housing being built on this site off the A518, as demonstrated at the consultation event held by First City on 5th September and at the public meeting organised by Gnosall Parish Council on 28th November 2013.

There is a lack of evidence that material considerations were taken into account when commissioning work regarding the site. These material considerations relate to the Localism Act, namely that residents should not have housing imposed upon them; that required infrastructure should be first put in place; and that due regard should be given to the impact of any developments on surrounding villages and their infrastructure.

This proposed development conflicts with the draft Local Plan of Stafford Borough Council and we believe such a large scale housing development to be unsustainable in the village of Gnosall.

We bring this matter to the attention of Staffordshire County Council and ask the elected members to instruct the officers to terminate this development and withdraw the planning application from Stafford Borough Council.

We seek assurances that in any future proposals (whether in Gnosall or any other part of the county) the County Council will

• engage in genuine consultation, following the principles of the Localism Act

• ensure that all stages of the process are transparent and openly recorded and

• pay due heed to material planning considerations

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