Planners have described a major Mansfield housing development as ‘smacking of desperation’, before giving it the seal of approval because it has spent years on the drawing board.
Members of Mansfield District Council’s planning committee heavily criticised the blueprint for 151 homes planned at Pleasley Hill, land once occupied by crumbling pit homes.
The council has been eager to press ahead with the multi-million-pound scheme on the vacant Chesterfield Road North site for years, viewing it as an important gateway into Mansfield.
But moving residents out, clearing the land and red tapes issues, means the ambitious project has taken much longer than expected.
And, after the plans were finally presented to the planning committee at their recent monthly meeting, they were lambasted by some because of the layout.
Many had been hoping for a more attractive design, with Coun Christine Smith quick to slam the designs.
She said: “It’s an extremely prominent gateway to Mansfield, but all you have is wooden fences, gable ends and a row of parked cars.
“It has been on the agenda for donkey’s years but this smacks of desperation.
“It’s quite appalling. There are so many things wrong with it that I’m very disappointed.
“Quite frankly, it’s a disgrace.”
Coun John Kerr agreed with Coun Smith’s comments, while Coun Martin Wright added: “It’s been a long time coming and it’s finally arrived .
“It’s been an eyesore for many years and this will be an improvement.
“It won’t paint a pretty picture, but it’s better than what we have got now.”
The decision to bulldoze rows of old colliery homes on the Chesterfield Road North site was taken in 2004, but it took another nine years to clear the site.
The houses had stood for more than 120 years but had fallen into serious disrepair.
Persimmon Homes is behind the new development which will see 151 homes, including 12 apartments, built in clusters and arranged around shared courtyards.
There will a mixture of mainly three-bed and two-bed homes, with a small number of four bedroom houses.
In total, 31 homes will be deemed as ‘affordable housing’.
A total of 210 off-street parking space have been earmarked, while there will also be one retail and one commercial unit built on the site.
Six of the nine committee members voted in favour of the plans, meaning it now has the green light.
And the news has been welcomed by locals, who say they have been eagerly awaiting development.
Denise Allen, who runs Poplar Stores just yards from the site said: “It’s about time, we are in need of them. The village is dead, they took away the houses and we’ve not really heard anything about it.
“Because they’ve left it so long it’s all overgrown so they have created more work for when it needs clearing.”
David Hayes, who runs Pleasley Pharmacy next to the site agreed, and had initially had reservations about the plans, but is glad that work could soon start.
“The plans I saw seemed okay, and it’s taken a long time but we feel something needs to happen to smarten the place up.”
John Phipps, agent to Persimmon Homes who are behind the scheme, said the plans had gone through a number of changes and had worked closely with council officers, but admitted the shape of the land has left them restricted.
He said: “It’s a very long and narrow site and there’s only two possible ways to develop it, and one is to build the homes like they were before.
“We think that when the scheme is realised, and the landscape is matured, it will be very good.
“I respect what the councillors said, but I think the majority were supportive.”