Villagers in stand-off with police commissioner

COMMUNITY leaders in Blythe Bridge are embroiled in a stand-off with county's police and fire commissioner. Matthew Ellis (pictured) wants to sell off the village's redundant police post to raise funds for the Force. But local councillors are opposed to the plan because villagers use the Uttoxeter Road site as a car park. Forsbrook Parish Council wants to register the register the former police post as an ‘asset of community value’ to give it greater protection against "unwanted" planning applications. Mr Ellis said: “I want to support schemes and ideas which benefit local people and local taxpayers. “I am, however, unlike councils, restricted by law in that I must simply accept the most money offered for any building and ignore any wider community benefits. “The law was due to be changed seven years ago, so that commissioners could assess 'value', money-wise, but also what benefits the community more widely. Seven years later we are still awaiting that law change by the Government. “I will, however, continue to do all I can within the law to support these exciting local ideas and developments.” Staffordshire Moorlands District Council is recommending that the site is listed as an asset of community value, although a final decision has yet to be made. Mr Ellis says he will appeal if the parish council's request is granted The district council report states: “The car park is ancillary to the main use of the building. Previous case law in relation to listing land as an asset of community value has established that community benefit derived from a use does not have to be based on there having been a public right of access to the use of that land. “A successful listing as an asset of community value may result in a moratorium and consequent financial loss for the current owner but that would be for determination should it occur at that time and is not, of itself, a reason for refusing a nomination.”

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