Ashfield District Council withdraws its Local Plan

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It is back to the drawing board for Ashfield District Council after it voted to withdraw its Local Plan - four months after a Government inspector said it was probably ‘unsound’.

Councillors voted to withdraw the Plan at a meeting on Thursday after Planning Inspector Jeremy Youle found ‘significant concerns’.

Opposition councillor Jason Zadrozny has slammed the lack of a plan as a major embarrassment for the authority.

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He said: “The earliest we can expect this now is the back end of next year.

With no plan in place, there are fears that housing developments could be pushed through on appeal after the council has refused them planning permission.

“A week ago we had a decision made by this council on the Alfreton Road site overturned and another hundred houses are now to be built and Alfreton Road is to become a three lane-road.

“That is the downside of the council not getting it’s house in order.”

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In a letter to the council in April his concerns centred on the assessments carried out to select development sites and evaluate the Green Belt.

He said the Plan did not make clear why certain sites had been selected and others rejected.

But the authority said it had worked hard to alleviate residents’ concerns, whilst trying to support economic growth.

Speaking after the meeting, Independent councillor Gail Turner, described the plan as bad and unsuitable.

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Coun Turner said: “Just as the inspector said, it was unsound.

“There seems to have been no sustainability test it would stand up to.

“They tried imposing unsound sites on the rural areas.

“In the rural areas we are still writing our neighbourhood plan which will be tested for soundness.

The parish council has offered its help we hope Ashfield District Council will accept that help.”