Residents have their say on Mowlands plan

Kirkby residents view plans to build over 1,600 homes in the town at a public exhibition held at the Kingsway Park cafe last Friday.
Kirkby residents view plans to build over 1,600 homes in the town at a public exhibition held at the Kingsway Park cafe last Friday.

FIRED-UP residents gathered for a public exhibition at Kirkby’s Kingsway Park on Friday and Saturday to find out more about controversial plans to create a major development in Kirkby.

A fortnight ago, Chad revealed that Chilwell-based Westerman Homes had set out proposals for the £200 million Mowlands housing scheme which, if given the go-ahead, would include up to 1,800 new homes across an area of almost 170 hectares and create more than 1,000 new jobs along with around 750 ancillary jobs.

The firm has also set out plans for a £10 million relief road which would link Chapel Street and Pinxton Lane with the A38 in a bid to ease congestion travelling to the M1, as well as create open green space, a business park, a new access route to Ashfield School and a new setting for Kirkby Cross.

The proposals have already divided members of the community with some people welcoming the new road and the creation of jobs, while others raised objections to the loss of green space.

Between 500 and 600 people attended the public exhibition - which was organised by Westerman Homes - to find out more about the plans and to share their views with bosses at the firm.

Kirkby resident Chris Vardy questioned whether there was a need for more housing in the district.

He said: “We don’t need housing because there are hundreds of houses that are unoccupied in the area. Where are the people in Kirkby who are going to buy the houses?

“Businesses aren’t exactly fighting over themselves to come here.

“We are an island and we need farm land to grow food - we don’t need farm land for houses.”

Colin Doe, also from Kirkby, said that he had concerns about increased traffic in the area.

“As far as I’m concerned it’s not a relief road,” he said. “There will be 2,000 cars trying to get into a bottle neck.”

And Peter Wilcock, from Kirkby Woodhouse, added: “The only thing it will alleviate is traffic on Sutton Road, causing a problem at the end of the relief road.”

Last week, Robert Westerman, who is director at Westerman Homes, said that the scheme would deliver some of the homes that Ashfield District Council needs to provide in the coming years.

He said: “Without Mowlands, the council will still have to find sites to provide the number of homes needed, but there is no guarantee residents will see any relief from traffic congestion in the near future.

“With or without development, the council’s own traffic study predicts that congestion will get worse.

“The only solution is a relief road. Our scheme can provide it. We can also provide a new primary school, health services, workspaces, extensive new parkland and new wildlife habitats.”

• KARA (Kirkby Area and Residents’ Association) is set to hold a meeting to discuss the plans set out by Westerman Homes. Anyone who is interested in attending is urged to contact group chairman Mike Slack on 07836501549 or email mikea3mks@btinternet.com.