Councillor Chris Baron: Five year land bank will end housing ‘free for all’

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Coun Chris Baron, leader of Ashfield District Council, said the authority was not embarrassed about its lack of a Local Plan as part of the Local Development Framework (LDF).

He said the council was among 180 around the country which had withdrawn theirs and moved to allay fears of a future housing ‘free for all’.

Coun Baron said the recent decision to allow 100 homes to be built on Alfreton Road in Sutton had now given the council its required five year land bank - the amount of development sites that developers can put a planning application in for.

He said: “The Alfreton Road site was turned down and that went to appeal which they won.

“That increases our land bank to as near as practicable to five years.

“Developers cannot now use that as grounds for an appeal if a decision goes against them.”

He said that there were around 72 local authorities whose LDFs have been accepted, but more than 300 did not have one in place.

He said 180 of them had been withdrawn in a similar way to Ashfield.

Coun Baron added: “Authorities are having the greatest of difficulty getting their LDF approved by Central Government.

“They say we haven’t enough houses, not enough development sites and we aren’t doing enough to produce more jobs . You can’t build them if you haven’t got the land.

“We have been working on this LDF since the beginning of this administration.

“It is not an embarrassment at all.

“I know we have gone through due process, we have consulted across the whole community and businesses of Ashfield and yet it has been rejected by one individual.

“We chose to withdraw it - we could have progressed it through the enquiry stage but if we were not successful that would have been an expensive waste of money.”

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