Annesley campaigners raise concerns over Taylor Wimpey proposals

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ANNESLEY residents have raised concerns that a decision on whether an area of land should be returned Green Belt status will not be made before developers build on the site.

Earlier this year, we reported that members of campaign group ACCESS (Annesley Community Committed to Ensuring Sustainable Settlements) had submitted a petition to Ashfield District Council asking the authority to launch a Comprehensive Greenbelt Review.

The petition, which was signed by more than 1,000 people, was prompted by the latest planning application from Taylor Wimpey who want to build 97 new homes on land off Forest Road.

ACCESS chairman Peter Olko has said that the review may not be completed before the planning committee make a decision on the development.

He said: “I am worried that Ashfield District Council will not honour the agreement with the community that came about as a result of the petition.

“There is strong feeling among local residents that this development should not go ahead.

“On four occasions in the past we managed to stop similar proposals, but this time we are afraid it might just be given permission and that would be a disaster for current and future generations.

“The development would totally change the ecology of Little Oak Plantation, as well.”

And Forest Road resident Bob Collier added: “I am concerned not only about the detrimental effects on the wood’s flora and fauna, but also about the longer term management and open access which our forefathers enjoyed, and which hopefully our children and grandchildren will continue to enjoy.

“We have traced this wood’s history back to 1817, when it was then called Oak Wood. We believe this wood was once part of Sherwood Forest and should be protected as an important part of our local heritage.”

Christine Sarris, who is planning and building control manager at Ashfield District Council, said: “All local planning authorities have a duty to consider, on their individual merits, planning applications that are submitted.

“The consideration of planning applications is based on the current planning policy context at both the local and national levels and the information submitted with the applications. Any application will be assessed on the information that is placed before the authority.”

“This information will be assessed by officers and a report will be prepared for the planning committee highlighting the key planning matters for consideration within current policy context. The planning committee will be asked to consider the officer’s recommendation at that time.

“It should also be noted that the current Government is advocating the timely processing of all planning applications. If an application were to be left undetermined the applicant would have the right of appeal.

“The council can, however, note the petitioners’ concerns and these will be considered as part of the processing and assessment of the current application.”