LETTER: We have lost Ashland Road battle

I’d like to respond to a piece you ran in the Chad recently on the planning committee’s decision regarding Ashland Road, West Huthwaite.

The Independent councillors Jason Zadrozny, Tom Hollis and Rachel Madden, who proposed and supported a refusal against the council, have claimed they ‘won the battle’ on behalf of residents around Ashland Road.

I would argue that they’ve actually lost for residents, lost for the authority and lost for the district.

The likelihood is that the planning application, which was recommended for approval by officers at Ashfield District Council, will go before an appeal inspector.

In my opinion there was little or no grounds for refusal, but my opinion doesn’t matter now, as when this goes in front of an inspector they are likely to grant the application and let development go forward.

The risk here is that the developer can in this instance withdraw the agreed contributions to local community and infrastructure.

The risk if this happens is the residents will lose the planning application and potentially lose £1.6million of developer contribution to health, education, local parks and road improvements.

They have potentially lost 21 first-time affordable houses so desperately needed by first time buyers in our district.

And the council loses too:

This includes council tax from 200 properties and, more importantly, potential appeal costs which the inspector can award against the authority which could soar to £100,000 as seen in previous cases across Nottinghamshire.

Additionally, there are threats from central government to withhold the new home bonus grant on developments if councillors go against officer recommendations. Normally they pay £1,000 per house over four years. This totals a potential loss of £800,000 over the term.

In total the district and residents have potentially lost more than £2.5million of various schemes produced by this planning application refusal, and for what?

From what I can see this, I believe this was more about the county council elections in 2017 rather than district/residents’ actual needs.

The irony is that is likely to go ahead anyway under an inspector appeal with the risk that much of the contributions from the developer could be removed, which is a great pity for the residents around Ashland Road, Brierley Forest and the wider Sutton and Huthwaite area

Don Davis

Deputy leader

and Labour councillor

for Annesley

and Kirkby Woodhouse, 
Ashfield District Council