Kirkby residents slam major housing plans

10-2185-4''Sutton, proposed Rugby Club site.
10-2185-4''Sutton, proposed Rugby Club site.

MAJOR proposals to build up to 185 new homes along with a sports pavilion and games pitches in Kirkby have been slammed by angry residents over fears of a surge in traffic in the town.

Outline plans were submitted by Nottingham-based firm Westerman Homes to create a development called Larwood Park on land behind Ashfield Fire Station.

And as well as the 185 houses, they include a community sports club with pitches for rugby, junior football, cricket, netball, potentially hockey pitches and a sports pavilion which would have changing, viewing and refreshments facilities along with car park and games area.

Named after English cricket player Harold Larwood, the developers hope that Larwood Park will become home to players from Ashfield Rugby Club, who have been forced to play games in Mansfield because of a lack of playing facilities in their own district.

They also say the development will provide much-needed facilities for the area. But this week, residents living close to the proposed site criticised the application, saying it will lead to increased noise and congestion from cars, the loss of green space, increased anti-social behaviour and have a negative impact on wildlife.

Darren Haywood, who lives on nearby Homewood Drive, said that he would prefer to see former industrial land in Ashfield developed instead.

He said: “The Pretty Polly site (in Sutton) is huge and there must be more brown field sites. It is quality agricultural land and is a natural border between Sutton and Kirkby.”

And he added: “This road is a nightmare - it’s terrible, especially when the school run is on. The estate is full up, the schools are full up.”

He also said that sports clubs should make use of other open spaces such as Sutton Lawn and that the site in proposed site could become a magnet for anti-social behaviour when it was not being used.

His wife Sharon said that the area is a home to foxes, bats and birds, including pheasants, which would be lost if the site were developed.

Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, said that he was more concerned about the new houses than the sports pavilion - and said that it could lead to heavy traffic.

He said: “It is going to make it worse - if they have access through the estate, it is just going to add to it.”

Members of the Kirkby Area Residents’ Association (KARA) are planning to discuss the proposals at their committee meeting tonight and they are urging anyone who has any concerns to contact them.

No-one from Westerman Homes was available for comment. Ashfield District Council is expected to make a decision in August.