Residents’ housing fears washed away

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JUBILANT residents living in an area of Huthwaite that has been repeatedly hit by flooding are celebrating after plans to build 83 new homes were rejected.

Members of Ashfield District Council’s planning committee refused to grant permission for the new properties at Greenwood Falls Farm on Mill Lane, which has suffered severe flooding in the past.

The proposed site was close to a residential development currently under construction by developers Persimmon Homes – but the plans were thrown out at a meeting on Thursday evening.

Mill Lane resident Alan Britton, whose home has been flooded on several occasions in recent years, welcomed the decision and and said that the issue of sewage needs to be dealt with before any development can go ahead.

He said: “I am pleased. I wouldn’t mind it going ahead providing they put a new sewer in before they do anything.”

Mr Britton believes that the problem is due to the existing sewer being too old and small to cope with the number of houses that are now in the area.

He added: “I have been totally flooded out of the house twice in the nine years that I have been here.

“The worst thing about it is that it is not surface water – it is sewage, it is the nasty stuff.”

If the project had been given the go-ahead, developers Ben Bailey Homes had pledged to contribute towards the cost of regenerating the community – which included £75,000 for the expansion of John Davies Primary School and £75,000 towards the relocation of Huthwaite Health Centre.

However, officers at the council said that the financial contribution did not outweigh the loss of open space and other implications.

Speaking on behalf of Ben Bailey Homes, Jonathan Smith argued that the estate would help satisfy the need for housing in Ashfield –and that councillors should act now while they had the opportunity.

He said: “It comes down to a clear choice. Do you act and get an appropriate development now or do you not act and get a development that is forced on you with no benefits at all?”

During the debate, Coun Sam Wilson said: “I would like to propose that it is refused but I do believe that with little work, the applicant could come back with a far superior plan and I am sure it is something we could agree on.”

Coun Jason Zadrozny praised the application – but added that more work needed to be done on it to make sure the site would not be flooded and that the application should be deferred rather than refused.

He added: “I would have to be 100 per cent certain that flooding would not just be not exacerbated but also will alleviated.”