GUEST COLUMN: Slow Down Development, by Mark Spencer MP

TIME FOR INVESTMENT ON INFRASTRUCTURE -- so say MP Mark Spencer and Coun Mick Murphy, who are pictured by the former Wigwam Lane playing fields, one of the prime housing development sites.

TIME FOR INVESTMENT ON INFRASTRUCTURE -- so say MP Mark Spencer and Coun Mick Murphy, who are pictured by the former Wigwam Lane playing fields, one of the prime housing development sites.

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I want to use my column this week to keep what I see as the most important issue for Hucknall, along with improving the High Street, on the agenda.

You can’t deny it, and the facts and figures confirm it, Hucknall does not have enough local services to support the residents.

You may well have read the Dispatch article a few weeks ago, where Conservative councillors said that we should slow down the development until the services catch up with the demand. I think they’re right! That’s not to say we should just stop building, we all know that the country needs homes and our population is growing, but can we really cope with more of these big developments?

When we build hundreds of houses all in one go, we create a huge need for services.

We need money and a bit of time to get these schools and GP surgeries built, and to improve the roads and public transport, before we get new residents.

The Conservatives at Ashfield wrote to the county council, who are tasked with providing a lot of these services, to ask for their help.

At the time of my writing there’s been no reply. Last week the Conservative Group at the county council asked the council leader if he was confident that the developers at these sites would be paying enough to fund the necessary services. The answer, in short, was ‘I don’t know’.

I’m going to keep banging on about this issue, and so are my Conservative colleagues at Ashfield District Council, because frankly local residents are struggling. As Cllr Murphy keeps telling me, despite all the housing and growth and rising population of the town, the road network hasn’t changed for 30-odd years.

Is it any wonder it can’t cope?

We need to see investment and we need to see local policies that will support people and start to fix some of these issues. We’ll be meeting soon with Gedling and the county council to discuss all of this, and we’ll let you know how it goes.