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LSVs – updated

When the Stratford District Council (SDC) draft Core Strategy was published, it contained details of a new category of village – the LSV, or Local Service Village. An LSV has the following:
· Over 100 dwellings; and
· have 3 of the 4 of these – a primary school, a shop (with or without a post office), a village hall and a pub; and
· “frequent” public transport links.

* updated – Methodology for the identification of Local Service Villages – document updated – see bottom of article

This means that Earlswood, Tanworth and Wood End become LSVs. The methodology is a blunt instrument. For example:
There is no distinction between villages which have a railway station in the village or a railway halt a couple of miles away that’s just named after the village;
There is no distinction between a post office that’s open 24/7 or one that might be opened two mornings a week;
There’s no appreciation of the fact that a lot of people get their groceries from large supermarkets and then have them delivered these days (i.e. may not have a shop because cheaper supermarket deliveries have negated its purpose);
There’s no appreciation of the fact that most schools in rural areas are already full and many have waiting lists;
There’s no concession for LSVs that are in the Green Belt;
There’s no concession for LSVs that are in conservation areas or areas of outstanding natural beauty; and
There’s no concession for villages whose infrastructure will not cope with these additions e.g. Earlswood and Forshaw Heath’s sewage facility can’t cope already and road tankers are removing excess sewage every week already.

Most of these points were made at consultation last year – and ignored.

The consultation has produced a submission Core Strategy which is now on the SDC website.

Stratford District Council are desperate for it to be accepted and are committed to submitting this document, without changes, to the Secretary of State so that it can be passed into legislation quickly.

Here’s the interesting bit –
· SDC are really worried that because they don’t already have a Core Strategy in place, developers can just about do whatever they want. This is pretty much true – except in the Green Belt;

· However, if they have their Core Strategy passed by the Secretary of State, we (Earlswood, Wood End and Tanworth) have their Green Belt status removed;

· The Core Strategy, once passed, will initially force about 125 houses to be built in our villages;

· SDC says that’s it – once 125 houses have been built, there will be no more development. But the passage of the Core Strategy into planning law will mean that we have no Green Belt protection from that point on and SDC will be able to build where they like – there will be nothing to stop Solihull and Redditch meeting at Earlswood in future.

· Once we lose our Green Belt protection, it’s gone forever.

If we block the Core Strategy being accepted by the Secretary of State, we will still remain in the Green Belt and be protected by it.

What will this achieve:
SDC will be apoplectic at the thought of it being challenged and may be prepared to re-negotiate the position of Local Service Villages.

We believe that the District Councillors around Stratford town do not want more development in their area and that the invention of “Local Service Villages” is their attempt to shift hundreds of future homes out of their area. Do we think that this is a reasonable stance? If handled properly, it could be, as a number of villages in the District want or need more houses. Is it reasonable to destroy the Green Belt in order to achieve this. Absolutely Not. It contravenes the current Planning Legislation and the Government’s stated intention as to the meaning of the recently implemented planning legislation.

How do we do this?:
By asking questions about the legitimacy of the content of the Core Strategy during the 6 weeks public consultation, starting next Monday (22nd July); and
Then by attending the Inspection, undertaken by an inspector, under the auspices of the Secretary of State and challenging the legitimacy of the Policies contained in the Core Strategy.

This is a daunting prospect but in days of old, the “Green Belt Defenders” proved that the small guy can win.

As we said a year ago, this planning exercise is going to allow Redditch and Solihull to join up and nothing will stop this.

We have one last chance to try and stop this. We need to know what sort of support there is in the Parish is for trying to block the Core Strategy. If there is none, it is pointless challenging it. We also need to know whether or not people are in favour of adopting the Core Strategy, as public support would mean our supporting acceptance of the Core Strategy.

Graham Musson, Chair of Bearley Parish Council has written a letter which is reproduced in this website, so you can get another LSV’s perspective by reading it.

Let us know what you think, apathy is not an option. Alert your friends and neighbours and get them to respond too. Once the Green Belt has gone it’s gone. Time to shout is now.
Get in touch with us, Earlswood and Forshaw Heath Residents Association.

Draft Core Strategy 2012 (SDC)
Methodology for Identifying Local Service Villages (PDF document from SDC)
Revised document – Methodology for the identification of Local Service Villages, April 2013 (PDF)

1 comment to LSVs – updated

  • Hazel Sandford

    Surely this is totaly against government policy, when david cameron and the rest of the present government have sworn to protect the green belt at all costs.