Consultation to launch on ‘controversial’ 8,000-home Local Plan for Ashfield
The public will be consulted on Ashfield Council’s draft local plan next month despite councillors not being ‘100 per cent happy’ with the 8,226-home document.
The Ashfield Independents administration moved forward with the plan at its cabinet meeting this week, agreeing to launch the first six-week consultation stage in October.
The document outlines the authority’s plan for housing and wider development until 2038, including two major housing settlements to bring 4,000 new homes.
However, members of the cabinet confirmed they are not entirely happy with the level of housing in the plan, viewing the Government as setting too high a target to be achieved each year.
If approved, the document would allow 457 homes to be built in the district every year until 2038, down from a Government target of more than 800.
Speaking in the meeting, councillors said it means putting forward a ‘controversial’ plan which includes building on greenbelt land.
Coun Jason Zadrozny, council leader, said: “There’s no getting away from the fact this plan is controversial, because some people don’t want to see changes [to their communities].
“But I feel our cross-party working group, and the portfolio holder, have done a significant amount of work to steer this in a more positive way.
“It’s fair to say we’re not 100 per cent happy with it, but that’s why we want to make sure [the consultation] is done.
“This isn’t a plan we’re hoisting on people, we want to ask the public what they think so we can make any changes.”
The document includes plans for a large, mixed-use housing development on Cauldwell Road, Sutton, on the Mansfield-Ashfield border, to be used for 1,000 homes.
It will also feature an on-site primary school, a local centre with retail and community facilities, and seek contributions towards secondary education.
Sites have also been allocated for development in Kirkby, Sutton, Selston, Jackdale and Underwood.
Coun Matthew Relf, council portfolio holder for regeneration and planning, said: “We know people don’t want to see fields built on and we feel the same way.
“Our plan uses every brownfield site available, but to achieve the Government’s targets, greenfield sites have to be built on.”
The six-week consultation will begin in October and run through until November.