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Affordable housing plan near Codsall rejected

By Kerry Ashdown | South Staffordshire | News | Published:

A housing association’s bid to build 10 new affordable homes in a South Staffordshire village has been rejected by councillors after concerns were raised about a lack of local services for residents.

South Staffordshire Housing Association proposed five bungalows and five houses for rent and shared ownership on land at Shop Lane, Oaken, near Codsall, as a “rural exception site”.

The land is located in the green belt and next to the village’s development boundary.

Rural exception site schemes allow small areas of land to be used for affordable housing in a location where such sites would not normally be used for housing.

And SSHA’s application had been recommended for approval by South Staffordshire Council’s planning officers.

A Google Street View image of the land off Shop Lane Oaken earmarked for the affordable housing development by south Staffordshire Housing Association

Lesley Birch, speaking in support of the application at a planning committee meeting on Tuesday, said: “This development has been designed to meet the housing need demonstrated in the housing needs survey.

"We currently have 52 people who have requested to rent a property in Oaken.

“SSHA is a rural housing provider that works in partnership with South Staffordshire Council to provide affordable quality housing. We are currently working on similar developments in Bishopswood, Bobbington and Bednall.”

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But there were 35 objections to the development from residents and Codsall Parish Council opposed the scheme on the grounds of lack of suitable infrastructure.

It also raised concerns about the validity of the housing needs survey and risk of flooding.

Jeff Silk, who spoke against the application at Tuesday’s meeting, said: “I’m here to represent the whole of the Oaken community and express our strong objections to targeted housing in the green nelt.

"There was absolutely no consultation or involvement of the local community, except showing us the plans at the 11th hour.

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“There is a total lack of service provision for social housing. There are no local services or amenities whatsoever.

"There is no bus service and there is a dangerous section of road to walk to Codsall – we have been verbally abused by motorists driving along the lane. It’s currently not safe for children to walk to school.”

The plans met with mixed views from the planning committee.

While some members highlighted the benefits of similar schemes in their communities, others raised concerns about the suitability of the Oaken site.

Councillor Isabel Ford said: “Having been involved in the Bednall site for eight affordable homes I would like to support this application and propose approval.”

But ward councillor Robert Spencer said: “This application is in the wrong place. People who need this sort of housing also need the infrastructure to go along with it.

“This is a proposal to build on the Green Belt and is in contravention of our own core strategy.”

Councillor Spencer proposed that the application be refused planning permission and his motion won the vote.

Following the decision there was a round of applause from residents in the public seating area of the meeting room.

Kerry Ashdown

By Kerry Ashdown
@KerryAshdownLDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Staffordshire.

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