Shenstone villagers to have say on future housing plans in referendum

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Villagers in Shenstone in Staffordshire will have a say on future housing developments when they vote in a referendum.

Shenstone Parish Council has created a Neighbourhood Plan which aims to deliver up to 150 new homes on a brownfield site west of the village.

Now it’s holding a referendum and the results will be recommended to Lichfield District Council for future planning applications impacting on Shenstone.

The Staffordshire village has an ageing and declining population and it’s hoped new developments will attract young families and offer older residents smaller homes.

Cllr David Thompson, of Shenstone Parish Council, said: “The referendum seeks to protect the amenities of Shenstone village using the planning powers.

“The parish council would keep strict control over the new development.

“We would take a very, very close grip of the planning application so the housing mix that we wish to protect is protected, and the developer does not say that it is unviable and uneconomic.

“The parish council will be absolutely at the forefront of the development.”

Some residents are concerned new housing plans will increase traffic, in particular lorries travelling to Birchbrook Industrial Park.

Resident Roy Welch, 81, said: “You try and walk down Pinfold Hill with the HGVs and the traffic and the speed of some of the traffic.

“I mean if you’re on the bend you’ve got to go back like this [motions backwards]if two are trying to pass.”

Fellow resident Paul Jenkins, 47, said: “They need to put some traffic calming measures in at the island down on the A5127.

“There are two accidents every month with people’s walls and the bridge wall taken out.”

Mr Jenkins also fears  existing infrastructure cannot cope.

He added: “If we have a bad rainstorm the electricity gets cut off. They have to bring in a generator.”

Chris Pincher, MP for Tamworth, said: “I think it is important we do get some extra housing in the village. We need a mix of housing.

“We certainly need affordable housing for people who want to live in Shenstone.

“Particularly the kids of villagers who possibly can’t afford to live here now.”

The referendum takes place on Thursday (November 17).

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