Huge opposition to local plan expected at Ashfield Council meeting

Ashfield Council could be presented with two petitions totalling more than 9,000 signatures and a cross-party motion, all calling for its draft local plan to be scrapped.

By Andrew Topping
Monday, 29th November 2021, 8:32 pm

The controversial housing document, which lays out where 8,226 homes will be built between now and 2038, has been met with a fierce backlash from residents and politicians since it was first revealed in October.

The document set out the sites for major developments to meet Government housing targets, including two large settlements to accommodate almost half of all new homes in Ashfield.

This includes a 3,000-home development at Whyburn Farm in Hucknall, and a 1,000-home settlement off Cauldwell Road, Sutton.

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Laura Gapski (third from left) of the Bright Sparks Private Day Nursery with fellow campaigner Daniel Nightingale. They went to hand over the petition against the proposed housing development on Cauldwell Road in Sutton. Also handing over a petition, at the same time, were Hucknall Against the Whyburn Farm development campaign group members Mandy Shaw (left) and Jemma Chambers (right).

Both developments, if approved, would come with their own primary schools and community facilities.

However, community action groups have been set up to object to both proposals, with petitions due before the full council meeting on Thursday, December 2, calling for the plans to be reconsidered.

The largest of the two petitions relates to the Hucknall development, with 7,653 signatures calling for the ‘council to reject the proposal to permit the development of the Greenbelt land in and around Whyburn Farm, Hucknall’.

This petition includes 3,504 e-petition signatures and a further 4,149 signatures in paper format.

The second petition, relating to the 1,000-home Cauldwell Road plans, will also be discussed if it meets the 1,500-signature threshold by Wednesday, December 1.

It had 1,107 online signatures at noon on November 29, although it is unknown how many paper signatures the petition has.

The Cauldwell Road petition also calls on the council to ‘reject the proposals to permit the development of 1,000 homes’.

Both petitions will be accompanied by a cross-party motion from opposition Labour and Conservative councillors, calling for the draft local plan to be re-drawn.

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The motion has been submitted by Coun Lauren Mitchell, of Labour, and seconded by Coun Philip Rostance, a Conservative, who both represent parts of Hucknall.

It states: “Considerable opposition to the development proposals within the Draft Local Plan to expand Hucknall has been advanced.

“This council, therefore, resolves to request the cabinet to fully take into account the consultation submissions and to address the opposition to the Draft Local Plan.

“This will be done by urgently reviewing this version of the Draft Local Plan, which objectors consider allocates a disproportionate number of dwellings to Hucknall and destroys a significant portion of Green Belt land.

“And considering whether to replace it, at the earliest possible opportunity, with an amended plan. This amended plan should allocate a greater level of new housing beyond Hucknall across Ashfield district, and seek to ensure any such plan is sustainable.”

The motion adds the council should consider ‘the adequacy of all infrastructure and services’ when proposing the number of houses to be built.

Coun Jason Zadrozny, council leader, and Coun Matt Relf, portfolio holder responsible for the plan, have both confirmed the plan was paused after consultation ended on November 16.

The council is awaiting confirmation from Michael Gove, Housing and Local Government Secretary, about plans to reform the calculation method for setting housing targets.

Mr Gove has described the current system – which requires Ashfield Council to build 457 homes a year until 2038 – as ‘out of date’ and suggested the calculation could be done ‘in a more sophisticated way’.

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