Call for ‘sensible, community-led’ alternative to controversial Ashfield local plan

A campaigner calling for Ashfield Council’s ‘controversial’ draft local plan to be scrapped says her group wants to find a ‘sensible, community-driven’ alternative.

By Andrew Topping
Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 7:59 am

Thousands of residents across Ashfield have united on social media and to sign petitions to oppose the local plan, which sets out proposals to build 8,226 homes by 2038.

The plans include 541 homes in the Kirkby area and 498 homes in the Selston and Jacksdale area, as well as 3,004 in the Sutton area, including 1,000 homes off Cauldwell Road, on the Mansfield-Ashfield border.

One of the more controversial elements is a 3,000-home settlement in Whyburn Farm, Hucknall, including a primary school and GP surgery on a large, greenbelt site.

Coun Jason Zadrozny, Ashfield Council leader.

Concerns have been raised over the impact on wildlife, people’s mental health, the loss of the large open space and its wider impact on existing services.

Almost 2,500 people have signed a petition on the council’s website, while more than 3,800 people have joined a Facebook group.

Jemma Chambers, who lives next to the site, believes the plans would be detrimental to her town.

The 39-year-old said her campaign won’t stop until the council “sees sense” over the proposals.

Campaigners want to stop proposals to build 3,000 new homes on Whyburn Farm

“Nobody wants a site of 3,000 houses,” she said. “It’s not additional housing, but a new settlement.

“People would be happier with a few smaller settlements that don’t encroach on one town.

“We need housing, but let’s have a sensible, community-driven plan everybody can accept.”

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He is blaming the Government for setting the 8,226-home target and says there is little alternative other than greenfield sites.

He said: “The difficult thing is to come up with an alternative – where do you find those 3,000 somewhere else?

“If you bang 500 houses here and there, it doesn’t trigger more infrastructure and you don’t get extra schools, doctors or dentists. It puts incredible pressure on other services.

“The Government says that’s not sustainable. There’s no space big enough to trigger all this, where the developer is on board, other than Whyburn Farm.

“I welcome alternative solutions.”

The ongoing consultation runs until December before a further public consultation in March.

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