Blidworth homes plan sparks villager’s fears

NMAC11-3026-1''Sherwood M.P.Mark Spence addresses Saturday's Meeting at Blidworth Welfare as Coun Geoff Merry, second left, Karen Cowen and Jon Rea look on
NMAC11-3026-1''Sherwood M.P.Mark Spence addresses Saturday's Meeting at Blidworth Welfare as Coun Geoff Merry, second left, Karen Cowen and Jon Rea look on

BLIDWORTH villagers have been told to make their voices heard over ‘unnecessary and unwanted’ housing proposals.

More than a 100 residents attended a public meeting at Blidworth Miners’ Welfare on Saturday and heard from campaigners and elected members opposed to plans to set aside land in the village for development.

The group came together after Newark & Sherwood District Council identified land which could be used to build 299 homes between now and 2026 - including fields off Dale Lane, currently classed as Green Belt and earmarked for 54 homes.

Leading campaigner for Save Blidworth Green Belt, Jon Rea, was joined by Sherwood MP Mark Spencer and Coun Geoff Merry in urging householders to fight the plans.

Mr Rea said although the group was not opposed to development, the number of houses which had been proposed would have a huge impact.

“We are in danger of Blidworth losing its identity and becoming part of a potential urban sprawl on the edge of Mansfield,” he said.

“We want to see a 1000-name petition delivered to Newark & Sherwood District Council by 25th November to show the strength of feeling about these plans to bring unwanted and unnecessary housing to the village.”

Coun Merry, who is also a parish and county councillor, said extra houses would put pressure on GP services and schools as well as the village’s roads and parking infrastructure.

There would be further pressure from the proposed 1,700- home Lindhurst development and new homes at Rainworth.

“The infrastructure we have at the moment is just not capable of handling what is being proposed,” he said.

Pledging his support to the campaigners, Mr Spencer said residents should make their objections based on reasons which could be considered by planners.

“I would advise that the core of any objections are made on reasons of sustainabiilty,” he said.

A drop-in session for anyone needing help to complete their letters of objection is being held at Blidworth Library on Saturday morning.

The district council’s proposals also include putting aside land for employment use and the results of the public consultation will be published in a Development Plan Document report due in February.

If councillors approve the proposals, they will go before a planning inspector - with developers potentially able to apply for planning permission on the land as soon as October next year.

Said cabinet member for sustainable development and regeneration, Coun Roger Blaney: “Allocating a site is at a very early stage in the process and we welcome people’s feedback.

“There needs to be a supply of land for housing, employment and retail development to meet the anticipated needs of the district and its people.

“Having a robust set of planning policies, together with national guidance, will help the council decide whether these sites are appropriate for development and if so, the issues that should be taken into account in deciding planning applications on them.”