RESIDENTS from Teversal, Stanton Hill and Skegby have pledged to protect their communities if land is set aside for large-scale housing development in the future.
They are hoping to be the first people in the district to establish a Neighbourhood Plan which is part of the Localism Bill and could give householders more power to shape potential developments.
The move comes amid concerns that an additional 10,000 new homes are needed in Ashfield by 2026 to meet rising demand.
And while Ashfield District Council has not yet stated which areas could be earmarked for development, residents are concerned that the undeveloped countryside around Teversal, Stanton Hill and Skegby could be in the firing line.
By setting aside areas of land, developers could be able to get applications approved by the planning committee more easily because the authority would have already deemed them suitable for building on.
No-one was available from the council for comment when Chad went to press yesterday - but it is understood that a public consultation will begin in the New Year.
Richard Goad, who is chairman of The Friends of Teversal, said: “Teversal is a conservation area. The countryside could be spoilt not to mention the lack of facilities such as schools, doctor’s surgery and bus routes. All the ancillary things that go with any development.”
He added that huge developments could also ‘close the gap’ between Ashfield and districts such as Mansfield and Bolsover.
At a meeting of the Friends of Teversal group last week, members agreed to join forces with other community groups in the area to explore setting up the Neighbourhood Plan to give them more influence on shaping potential developments.
In order to get the project off the ground, at least 21 residents need to be involved and the area covered would include Teversal Village, Teversal, Stanton Hill, Skegby along with Wild Hill, Stanley and Norwood.
Mr Goad said: “We are going to have another meeting in the New Year and the idea is to explore the potential to produce a Neighbourhood Plan.
“The problem is that you don’t have the opportunity to challenge (development). If there is going to be x-number of developments each year that’s going to happen. What we can do is identify the areas where we believe it would be most beneficial.”
The residents have secured the support of Coun Jason Zadrozny who said that Ashfield District Council should have a six year supply of housing but currently only has two.
Describing the residents’ idea for a Neighbourhood Plan, Coun Zadrozny, whose Sutton North ward includes Skegby, Stanton Hill and Teversal, said: “The benefit of the community deciding is that they can say, ‘we want here, we want bungalows not flats’.
“They also get to decide more about community infrastructure - it could be a post office, or an extra classroom or the regeneration of the high street.”
Coun Zadrozny added that while he was happy to support the project, it should be led by residents.