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Councillor Sharron Edwards - Press Coverage June and July 2004

Ad News 15 July 2004

'Campaign' claim on flats sparks anger

The rejection by planners of proposals to build 31 flats in Wombourne has been hailed as a victory by a local councillor - to the annoyance of her fellows councillors, who dubbed her actions unacceptable.

Parish councillor Sharron Edwards is claiming to have "spearheaded a campaign" against the building of the flats at the former Wombourne Service Station and says this is a victory for local residents.

Cllr Edwards said: "Finally, the people of Wombourne are being listened to and taken notice of. Residents from all over the village have supported their neighbours in Brickbridge Lane. They fought an excellent campaign and are encouraged that the vital issues raised have been properly addressed".

But Parish planning chief Cllr Alan Hinton said:

"This plan for 31 flats was never going to go ahead anyway, so no "campaign" was needed. I could see that with 10 car parking spaces short, the thing was going to be thrown out. But when villagers expressed their worries, I personally suggested that they write to the district planners and tell of their threefold concerns - that there was a lack of car parking, that this would result in over development of that area and that the access into the highway was poor".

Ad News July 15 2004

Councillor speaks out over housing development

Scaremongering claim over plan

The parish councillor censured last week for failing to comply with normal council procedures has hit back angrily declaring that villagers come before traditions.

Councillor Sharron Edwards revealed a planning application for 29 homes to be built in Wombourne, on the site of the former Swan pub, before many parish councillors had seen it.

Cllr Edwards, of the Freedom Party, said: "As a district councillor I do not have to wait upon parish council approval to do the job I was elected to do."

"Had any of the district councillors sitting on the council bothered to read their emails on June 16 they would have been aware of the application and would had the same opportunity as me to obtain a copy and make informed comments on it when asked by the local community."

But Parish Council chairman Cllr Peter Timms said he did indeed read the relevant email but that 100-year-old procedure had to be abided by.

"I speak as chairman of Wombourne Parish Council and as a district and county councillor Mrs Edwards must go through the correct procedure."

"She as a district councillor had seen the email and so had I, but many of the parish councillors had not. We work from grass roots up. This means when it comes to us we discuss it parish council then it progresses to district planners. We can make comments and suggestions, but the final decision does not lay in our hands as parish councillors."

"Had she followed the correct procedure then it would not have made any difference to the final outcome. It would not change the debate but it would have allowed debate. And that is what the whole system is based on from the grass roots."

"In the end, developments are allowed onIy if they fit in with planning law. Nothing Mrs Edwards has done will make any difference to the final outcome save to worry local people."

He was supported by Cllr Alan Hinton, who saiid: "We are all concerned about over-development, but we can't discuss in front of villagers what we haven't discussed in committee."

"Cllr Edwards, by doing what she has done, is causing unrest in the village and scaremongering. The plans still haven't come to us and will not be discussed in this week's planning meeting. But we will give villagers seven days notice of when they will be on the table. Then we in parish council can give our opinion and it will he taken up by the district council".

Express & Star July 13 2004

Joy as campaigners win fight against flats

by Sunita Patel

Controversial plans to build 31 city-style apartments and a showroom on the site of a Wombourne service station have been thrown out.

Campaigners against the growing trend of modern developments in the village are celebrating after planning chiefs rejected the proposal earmarked for Brickbridge Lane.

Councillor Sharron Edwards, who spearheaded the protest, said residents were delighted. "Finally, the people of Wombourne are being listened to and being taken notice of. Residents from all over the village have supported their neighbours in Brickbridge Lane."

"They fought an excellent campaign and are encouraged that the vital issues raised have been properly addressed."

The application, by Oakhouse Developments, was refused by South Staffordshire District Council's chief planning officer, Bill Meredith, under delegated powers last Friday. He said the luxury flats were out of scale with the type of existing development in the area and the three-storey element would result in a loss of privacy to surrounding properties.

"There was inadequate on-site parking which would lead to congestion on the road, causing highway danger, and access to the site would have been from Holloway Drive which has restricted visibility on to Brick bridge Lane," he added.

Residents are becoming increasingly alarmed by the number of new estates cropping up across the area, claiming the housing boom is getting out of hand and is destroying the charm of the village, which is fast becoming a "concrete jungle ".

The site of the Swan pub, in Common Road, could soon be home to 34 luxury flats, while 40 are planned for Tollhouse Way.

And there has been news of 22 more heading for the village centre to replace the old Wombourne Library site at Windmill Bank.

Wolverhampton Chronicle 10 July 2004

Council in dark over latest plans

AN INVESTIGATION is set to be launched by Wombourne Parish Council after one member managed to get access to controversial plans for new housing.

Councillor Sharron Edwards confirmed at the parish council meeting she had seen plans for the Common Road, Park Avenue and Sytch Lane development.

Furious residents packed the parish chamber to voice opposition to plans to build new apartments and houses.

Anger turned to confusion when parish councillors admitted they had not seen the plans. Acting chairman Councillor Alan Hinton said he could not understand why the plans had not been presented to the council but one member had seen them and he said he would launch a full investigation.

He added: "This is breaking with procedure. We must discuss these plans as a committee and only then can we present the district council with our objections."

After the meeting, Councillor Edwards said: "As a district councillor I was notified by email that the plans were available for inspection. When we refused the original application it was not in keeping with the street scene, so the appeal means the numbers have been reduced by five. I spoke with residents about this."

Developer David Payne Homes look set to build 30 apartments and four houses on the site of the old Swan pub, which has been demolished. Residents say the city-style development is completely inappropriate for the village.

A further development at Waterdale also angered residents after they said a site visit by district councillors went unannounced. Resident Derek Vine said: "When these plans were announced, there were almost 140 objections. We have lived there for 30 years and we have never been consulted over the plans. We didn't even know there was going to be a site visit. "

Wolverhampton Ad News 8 July 2004

Councillor under fire for revealing plans

A parish councillor who jumped the gun by showing housing plans to villagers before the parish council had seen them may have shot herself in the foot say her fellow councillors.

Villagers packed Wombourne Parish Council meeting furious at plans they had been shown to build 29 a apartments on the site of the Old Swan pub in Common Road. Councillor Edwards of the Freedom Party had obtained a copy of plans submitted by developer David Payne and showed them to villagers.

Wombourne planning committee chairman Alan Hinton was forthcoming: "What she did was against all procedure" he said.

"She has jumped the gun. We could censure her if she was in our own group, but she is not and I am going to have to take advice on this".

"We cannot discuss things in full council which have not been debated in committee. But when this comes before committee I shall ask for declarations of interest. We are all expected to arrive with open minds and debate issues. She has made it plain that her mind is already made up which shows her "interest" in the matter, so she will not be allowed to speak."

Express & Star 3 July 2004

Shock as plans for new flats are revived

Controversial plans to build city-style apartments on the former site of a Wombourne pub are in the pipeline again just weeks after being thrown out.

The move by David Payne Homes Ltd has outraged campaigners who thought they had won the battle, only to learn this week that the scheme is firmly back on the agenda.

Villagers fed up with constant projects to build more homes in the area had been celebrating planning chiefs' snub to the property developer's proposals to create 30 apartments and four houses in Common Road.

But South Staffs District Council has since been sent a renewed application and amended blueprints for the scheme, which includes luxury flats, semi and terraced housing, according to Councillor Sharron Edwards.

Residents against the move will have a few weeks to make any objections before the matter is addressed by parish councillors and then planners sitting on the district council's regulatory committee.

"These sorts of schemes are getting out of hand in the village" said Councillor Edwards. "It is over-development and people have had enough."

Bulldozers moved in to flatten the pub in April after the Bromsgrove-based developer bought up the land for housing.

Wolverhampton Chronicle 1 July 2004

Objection deadline

RESIDENTS concerned about the latest development plans for Wombourne have until Monday (5) to launch official objections with South Staffs District Council.

Villagers are in uproar regarding a proposal to build 31 flats on the site of the service station in Brickbridge Lane.

Scores have already attended meetings and written letters to complain saying the apartments would be out of keeping with the street scene.

Councillor Sharron Edwards said issues raised also included car parking, traffic, access and burden on utilities.

She said: "Some residents have had to hire generators to get electricity in the past. There is also the pdtential hazard on the roads considering that the site is next to a children's playing field."

Correspondence should be sent to the planning officer at the district council.

Ad News June 2004

Fight pledge over big developments

A Wombourne councillor has vowed to stop future, 'development explosions' after battling to block the building of new homes on the site of a former village pub.

Residents claimed victory when plans to erect 30 apartments and four two-bedroom houses at the, Swan Pub grounds were booted out by South Staffordshire Regulatory Committee.

Councillor Sharron Edwards, who spearheaded a campaign against the development in Common Road, said she had been flooded with calls from angry residents who labelled it a 'monstrosity'.

More than 40 villagers wrote to the council complaining the development would cause chaos. They also feared a planned 40 car parking spaces would not be enough.

Cllr Edwards said:

"I couldn't agree more with them. As I've said before, this application is another over-development and uncharacteristic of our village. Had Wombourne police station been relocated at the old library site instead and the existing station converted into luxury apartments, residents in School Road would not be faced with the prospect of overlooking a builders' Legoland."

"A development such as this would ruin the attractive nature of the village centre, the apartment's design is totally inappropriate and ill-placed."

Cllr Edwards said one family had moved amid fears the development would go ahead.

"I am made aware that one family, who have lived in the same property for over 10 years, felt forced to move because of this application being submitted."

"This shouldn't be happening and is why I am determined to continue to do all I can to balance quality of life in our village as well as prevent any further development explosions waiting to happen."

The David Payne Homes Ltd scheme was refused by 18 votes to 10.

Letter in Ad News

Place for station

Sir

I wholeheartedly support the suggestion made by Councillor Sharon Edwards to relocate the Wombourne Police Station.

Placing a police presence on such an elevated site at the heart of the village would send a reassuring message to the whole of the community.

We have a pretty village in a lovely setting. Let's make it the 'Jewel in the crown' with an imposing building and thoughtful layout.

J Phillips

Wombourne

Ad News 24 June 2004

Over-development fears are aired

The over-development of Wombourne continues to worry villagers, who called a meeting in the home of one of them to discuss their concerns.

Residents in Brickbridge Lane and surrounding roads met on Sunday to look at proposals to build 31 flats on the former Wombourne Service Station and showroom.

C11r Sharron Edwards, who attended the meeting, said:

"Local villagers unanimously agreed the application was not acceptable. They were emphatic that redevelopment didn't have to mean over-development and that an application mimicking properties in the surrounding street scene would be considered favourably. Villagers also commented that flats on the estate had been demolished to he replaced by bungalows, and questioned the logic in wanting to build more flats again, concluding that it didn't make any sense. I feel residents have provided a balanced judgement on this application and fully support their overwhelming decision that any redevelopment on this site should reflect properties in the area."

"I have forwarded representation to the planning office at District Council and highlighted the issues raised, not least the potential hazards on the roads, considering that the site is next to a childrens playing field and that large numbers of children use Brickbridge Lane to get to school."

Cllr Edwards said the local community was up in arms over the development, and determined to stop it.

She said Common Road residents who recently won their campaign against apartments on the former Swan Pub are supporting the Brickbridge Lane people.

Wolverhampton Chronicle 24 June 2004

Residents oppose village flats plan

ANGRY villagers flocked to a public meeting to launch fierce objections over plans to build 31 flats at a major Wombourne site.

Residents so incensed by the latest plans to develop "city-style" apartments in the rural setting demanded the meeting take place as a forum to air their views. They said they feared the proposed development at the service station and showroom on Brickbridge Lane would irreparably change the face of the area as well as increasing traffic and parking problems.

Parish council chairman Councillor Peter Timms said. "Due to the amount of high public feeling and widespread despair at this latest application, I offered residents the facility of the council chambers for the meeting. Yet again we have an application for apartments which are just not suiting for Wombourne. This time some of the buildings would be three storeys high."

Councillor Sharron Edwards said applications for more than 100 apartments had been submitted in a matter of weeks.

She said:

"Flats would ruin the attractive nature of the village. They are totally inappropriate and ill-placed, especially in a village environment. The building has to stop. People have had enough, their lovely village is fast becoming a concrete.jungle. The village infrastructure can't cope either. As a member of the Safer Routes to School Committee trying to reduce traffic and speed, 1 feel the project would be futile if the present problems were allowed to be exacerbated by accepting more vehicles on the road as a result of continued overdevelopment."

Applications currently making their way through the planning process include 34 luxury flats on the site of the Swan pub in Common Road, 40 more in Tollhouse Way and a possible 22 in the village centre to replace the old library at Windmill Bank.

Express & Star 17 June 2004

Villagers in fight to stop city-style flats

By Suffita Patel

Campaigners fighting a growing trend towards city living style apartments in Wombourne have been hit with another proposed development.

The latest application to land on the desks of planning chiefs in South Staffordshire is the proposed transformation of a service station and showroom in Brickbridge Lane into 31 flats. Councillor Sharron Edwards, who is spearheading the protest on over-development in the village, said the problem was getting worse.

The site of the Swan pub in Common Road could soon house 34 luxury flats, while 40 are planned for Tollhouse Way. Recently there was news of 22 more in the village replacing the old Wombourne Library site at Windmill Bank. With the addition of the new plans at the Total garage, figures will have risen to more then 120 in a matter of months, she said.

"Flats would ruin the attractive nature of the village. They are totally inappropriate and ill-placed, especially in a village environment."

Traffic

"The building has to stop. People have had enough," said Councillor Edwards.

"Their lovely village is fast becoming a concrete jungle."

"As a member of the safer routes to school committee, trying to reduce traffic and speed, I feel the project would be futile if the present problems were allowed to be exacerbated by accepting more vehicles on the road as a result of continued over development."

Concerns have been expressed by residents whose properties in Holloway Drive and Furnace Close will be overlooked by the flats.

Issues including traffic and noise are to be highlighted by villagers at a gathering to discuss the plans this weekend. Residents are becoming increasingly alarmed by the number of new estates cropping up in the area. They are claiming the housing boom is getting out of hand and destroying the charm of the village.



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