Neighbours want £5k fighting fund to stop 81-home Staffordshire estate

Land off Cannock Road, south of Stafford, earmarked for new housing in South Staffordshire Council's latest Local Plan
-Credit: (Image: Google Street View)

Residents battling a council's proposal to earmark land on the edge of Stafford for more than 80 new homes have launched a fundraising campaign to pay for a planning expert to fight their corner. South Staffordshire District Council has identified farmland at Weeping Cross, on the border with Stafford Borough, for up to 81 homes in its latest Local Plan.

The 3.85 hectare (9.51 acre) site has been allocated in "urban extensions to neighbouring towns". A previous version of the new Local Plan identified the land off Cannock Road as a potential site for more than 160 new homes, sparking objections from Stafford Borough councillors.

The latest version of the plan, which is subject to a public consultation until the end of this month, has also sparked objections from the affected parish council and neighbouring community leaders in Stafford Borough. More than 100 people attended an emergency public meeting organised by Acton Trussell, Bednall with Teddesley Hay Parish Council on Friday (May 10).

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As well as opposing the potential development they supported the set-up of a crowd-funding campaign to raise funds for the parish council to appoint an expert planner to assist in their battle. It has raised more than £900 in less than a week and the aim is to raise £5,000.

Alex Thompson, chairman of Acton Trussell, Bednall with Teddersley Hay Parish Council, said: "Residents of both Acton Trussell and Bednall should be concerned. This is a whole parish issue which could effectively join the parish to Stafford Borough with a sea of houses, extra traffic using an already overloaded rat run with terrible potholes and disappearing verges.

"The development is on the boundary to Stafford and assumes all services from Stafford and Staffordshire County Council, but local schools are full, local health provision is stretched and traffic into town is already awful. It is uncertain that issues such as waste water and surface water have been fully addressed and development of this site with 81 houses may well assist much larger developments later."

Dozens of residents attended another public meeting in Wildwood where they were advised by councillors on how to formally object to the proposal as part of the public consultation. Those in attendance also included current and former South Staffordshire Councillors and members of Staffordshire County Council and Stafford Borough Council.

Councillor Ann Edgeller, who chaired the meeting, called on residents to describe the proposal as "unsound" in their submissions. She also highlighted the South Staffordshire development's reliance on facilities in the neighbouring Stafford Borough, such as schools and health services, if the homes were built.

She added: "It is good quality agricultural land. As we all know, for the last 50 years, it has been growing potatoes for this area."

Fellow borough councillors Jenny Barron and Julie Read, who represent Weeping Cross and Wildwood, offered to assist residents in putting forward objections to the Local Plan consultation. And the meeting was also told that Stafford Borough Council was preparing its own submission to the consultation.

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