Plans for 325 homes at Beck Lane in Ashfield approved

Councillor Melanie Darrington and Coun Jason Zadrozny at the Beck Lane site.
Councillor Melanie Darrington and Coun Jason Zadrozny at the Beck Lane site.

Plans for 325 new homes to be built on land off Beck Lane in Skegby have been approved.

Councillors and residents have opposed the proposed development, on Beck Lane near the Fox and Crown pub, due to its impact on the “already gridlocked” conditions on nearby roads.

The application was blocked by the council’s planning committee last year but developers Lovel Developments appealed to the minister of housing to overturn the decision.

READ MORE: Decision into ‘controversial’ 325-home plan in Ashfield ‘expected in six to eight weeks’
This led to an inquiry, which was held to give residents the opportunity to express their views on the plans.

It saw members including Skegby’s Councillor Melanie Darrington, speak at length about why they believe the development would be a “disaster” for the area.

Coun Darrington said: “Any development here would be a disaster for Skegby. What we are talking about is an isolated development - in an area already gridlocked with local schools full to bursting.

READ MORE: Skegby residents 'will not be bullied' over Beck Lane development for 325 houses
“It’s clear that developers hired an expensive legal team who were over aggressive.

“They knew nothing about Skegby and that showed when they claimed residents should just jump on their bikes to get to Mansfield Railway Station."

The inspector has now heard evidence from all parties to the appeal, and has made the decision to approve the development, with some amendments.

A report from the inspector states: "As a result of ongoing discussion with the Highway Authority, the appellant sought to amend the position of the site access and the configuration of Beck Lane shortly before the opening of the inquiry.

"The changes proposed do not materially affect the opposition to the scheme which is maintained by local residents, and do not fundamentally alter the nature of the proposal.

"Having heard all relevant views I accepted the revised access proposal on the basis that it would not prejudice any party to the appeal.

"The appeal is allowed and planning permission is granted for residential development with means of access into the site at land west of Beck Lane, Skegby, Nottinghamshire in accordance with the terms of the application, Ref: V/2016/0569, dated 8 September 2016, subject to the conditions set out in the schedule at the end of this decision.

"Local residents continue to have concerns in relation to traffic impacts and highway safety. I can understand their concerns.

"The highways experts who explained the scheme and its impacts at the inquiry are highly experienced professionals and, although I respect the concerns of the local community, I do not have any grounds to disagree with the technical evidence put before me.

"For that reason I accept that there would be no unacceptable residual cumulative impact on the road network.

"The proposal would involve a reduction in the speed limit along the relevant stretch of Beck Lane from 60mph to 40mph. This would be implemented through a Traffic Regulation Order under highway legislation as part of the proposal.

"Concern has been expressed that the site would be isolated, and would not integrate well with the remainder of the community. I do not accept that position. The development would be on the edge of Skegby with adequate connections by a range of transport modes.

", I acknwledge that a development of over 300 houses could not fail to impact upon the character and appearance of the area.

"Local people clearly attach value to the landscape here, but it has no formal designation, and apart from a small section where a public right of way crosses it, there is no public access. Whilst it is a pleasant area of arable land it is not special in any way."

You can read the full decision here: https://www2.ashfield.gov.uk/cfusion/Planning/plan_view_docs.cfm?reference=V/2016/0569