‘Penned in’ fears over new housing

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DIVISIVE proposals to build thousands of houses at a site on the outskirts of Hucknall have been further condemned — amid fears that the town could be “penned in” by new developments surrounding its boundary.

As reported by the Dispatch last month, Gedling Borough Council have unveiled a controversial option to build up to 4,500 homes at Top Wighay Farm — a former Green Belt site between Hucknall and Linby.

There are concerns this could even expand to more than 6,000 houses if previous, opposed plans to develop the site are added to the scheme.

It comes just years after a campaign group celebrated news that proposals at the plot had been downgraded to only 450 houses.

But now Hucknall councillors have voiced even stronger fears that the Top Wighay bombshell could be “the thin end of the wedge”.

For there are suggestions that sites are earmarked on the outskirts of Bestwood Village for new housing — as well as the plan to build 600 houses on land north of Papplewick Lane in Hucknall.

Proposals are also in the pipeline that could see parts of Bulwell’s Blenheim Industrial Estate, which borders Hucknall, built on with a state-of-the-art energy park.

Large plots of land totalling dozens of acres are up for sale too at the end of Watnall Road, on the former brickyard site which bridges the M1.

It is estimated that the area, which falls under the control of Broxtowe Borough Council, could accommodate a further 2,000 homes.

Local councillors say the “worst-case scenario” would see Hucknall double in size.

Coun Chris Baron (Lab), a Hucknall member of Ashfield District Council, said: “This is purely a dumping exercise and the target is clearly Hucknall.

“We cannot cope with so many houses being built on top of this. We need to fight these plans as far as we possibly can.”

The most pressing proposal that campaigners say is posing a threat to the very existence of Hucknall and its surrounding villages is the controversial scheme at Top Wighay Farm.

Coun Bob Brothwell, chairman of Linby Parish Council, says the building of the houses would be equivalent to “rape” of the Dispatch district.

Campaigners say the infrastructure in Hucknall is already at breaking point and thousands of extra homes would have a devastating impact.

Coun Brothwell has now sent a lengthy letter to Gedling Council on behalf of his fellow councillors and Linby residents.

In it, the consultation on the housing proposals, the first stage of which ended last Friday, is slammed as inefficient.

Only some Hucknall residents have been included in the consultation exercise.

A special version of Gedling Council’s ‘Contact’ magazine featured Top Wighay as ‘Option One’ on account of it being close to services in Hucknall.

Speaking at a meeting of Hucknall Partnership Group, Coun Mick Murphy (Con), a Hucknall member of Notts County Council, expressed his anger about the plan.

He said: “I can assure everyone in this room that I have voiced my opinions at County Hall against building at Top Wighay Farm.”