AN ASHFIELD councillor says that he fears for the future of the district after a council decision to refuse permission for a Skegby housing development was overturned by the Government.
Outline planning permission has been granted for residential development on land off Gilcroft Street and St Andrew’s Street in Skegby and Vere Avenue in Sutton, following a Planning Inspectorate inquiry in November.
The application had been refused by Ashfield District Council for reasons that included the fact the site is open countryside, but this decision has now been overturned.
In his findings, the Secretary of State said that one of the key issues behind his decision is that the council has no Local Plan and has a ‘significant’ undersupply of housing land.
He concluded that ‘in the absence of a five year housing land supply in an up-to-date, adopted development plan, planning permission should be granted for the proposal’.
Sutton councillor Jason Zadrozny said that this is ‘horrifically bad news’ for Ashfield, as it will mean that a large area of countryside will be lost and it may set a precedent for other housing development plans put forward in the district.
“The impact on that area of Skegby is just a catastrophe,” he said.
“We are doomed because the district council has cocked it up that badly, it’s irreparable. The district will change so dramatically it will never be the same. It will change forever.”
Trevor Watson, service director - economy, said Ashfield District Council was ‘disappointed’ the planning application has been approved by appeal.
He admitted the council does not have a five year supply of housing land but said it is continuing to develop its Local Plan to guide future development, following on from consultation last autumn.