Residents in fight to halt housing plans

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Residents have launched a further attempt to block the construction of hundreds new homes that has been on the drawing board for more than three years.

An application has been submitted to Ashfield District Council to put the homes on land between Gilcroft Street, Skegby Avenue and Vere Avenue in Skegby.

In 2012, Ashfield District Council had rejected the blueprints, but this was overturned by the Planning Inspectorate on appeal in early 2013.

However, no work was started on the development, and the same applicants are now looking to extend planning permission for another three years.

There were almost 180 letters of objection from the application in 2012, plus 336 signatures added to a petition.

Residents are being encouraged to object in even greater numbers for the latest application.

Action group ‘Your Community News Skegby’ delivered leaflets and spoken with residents at the weekend, led by Skegby’s Melanie Darrington.

She said it was only brought to the residents’ attention when a small planning notice was spotted on railings next to the site.

“It’s just a tiny sign that hardly anybody would see it,” she said.

“It was so unpopular last time people wanted to be kept in the loop. Everyone feels it’s in the wrong place for a such a large housing estate.

“A few people were really shocked that it’s come up again and some were quite angry.

“Some are not confident that there opinions will count because of what happened last time, but we need people make their opinions known.

“If they have strong feelings, I would like to think they would matter and that the council will listen, but I’d hate to see the Government overturn it again.”

The Planning Inspectorate overturned Ashfield District Council’s decision in 2013 largely because the council defied Government advice and did not have a five-year housing land supply or an up-to-date local plan.

The council says it is developing a local plan and has undertaken a strategic housing market assessment that will ‘help inform the district’s five-year land supply’.

Until then, Skegby councillor Paul Roberts admits that even if the council rejected the application, it could be overturned by the Planning Inspectorate yet again.

However, he hopes the protests will be loud enough to be heard.

He said: “We need new housing and it has to go somewhere, but it seems a shame to put it there.

“It’s a beautiful piece of land and if it goes ahead the land will be lost forever, the local schools are already oversubscribed and the roads are too busy.

“It’s a terrible location for a new estate and must not go ahead.”

* To have a say, log onto Ashfield District Council’s website, click on the planning section, then ‘search the planning database’ and enter the application code V/2015/0511.