Neighbours demand investigation over town hall proposal to build at Padnall Lake
- Credit: Be First
Neighbours have demanded an investigation over a proposal to build more than 300 homes on “protected” land.
The town hall wants to build on more than five hectares around Padnall Lake, Marks Gate, with councillors set to vote on the scheme on Monday, November 30.
But neighbours say it feels like “a done deal”, accusing the council and its regeneration arm, Be First, of making it difficult for them to air their views, which both deny.
Kimberley Fraser said: “Throughout this process I have felt like this is already a foregone conclusion.
“We’ve seen our ability to get meaningful input on these plans made difficult or even not offered at times with meetings called off, meetings arranged with lack of notice or advertisements, and some people not even being offered information at all.”
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She alleged roads opposite the proposed site on the A12 were left out of the consultation process.
A council spokesperson said: “We have fully consulted the residents of the Marks Gate area, including those living on the other side of the A12.”
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He added that formal letters were sent to almost 2,000 homes which is “substantially” more than the legal requirement.
But neighbours have also cried foul play after a technical problem with the online planning portal meant they couldn’t upload comments. Questions were also raised over the exact number of objections.
The town hall’s spokesperson admitted there was a three day breakdown with the portal, but the authority moved “speedily” to fix it and then extended the consultation period by 14 days.
He described the response rate as “very good”, confirming 38 people had commented as well as two petitions submitted.
Neighbours have also asked why air quality testing wasn’t carried out at the site.
Jennie Coombs from Be First said consultants measured air quality at two spots next to the A12 with similar characteristics to the Padnall Lake site and concluded there were no issues.
Kimberley called for an investigation into the proposal, which she said faced “massive uproar and disapproval”.
“If this site is to be built on well used, well-loved green land, we as residents and homeowners must be allowed to have our opinions considered,” she added.
The town hall spokesperson said councillors would consider people’s views before making their decision.