Ashfield residents can now have their say on how land is allocated in the preferred Local Plan for 480 homes a year for the next 15 years.
The decision to hold a public consultation was rubber-stamped at an extraordinary meeting of ADCs Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday.
A meeting of the authority’s cabinet voted in favour of the Preferred Local Plan on January 7 and it is now set to go through a six-week public consultation process.
The Council is preparing a new 15 year Local Plan, which will guide development across Ashfield up to 2032. By 2032 approximately 10,000 new jobs are forecast for the District.
Its population is projected to increase by around 13,000 and 480 new homes a year are required to meet the housing needs of its communities.
Announcing the consultation Ashfield District Council forward planning team manager said: “The Local Plan Preferred Approach is a draft Local Plan that the Council has produced using a range of evidence base studies to help ensure it is robust.
“The Council now wants everyone to have the opportunity to view and comment on the draft Plan. As such, it is undertaking a period of public consultation.”
The Preferred Approach Local Plan sets out strategic policies to guide and control the overall scale , type and location of new development and infrastructure investment.
It indicates the numbers and locations of new homes to be built over the plan period and provides policies which guide the determination of planning applications.
It allocates site for employment development and protects the natural environment and local heritage.
The Local Plan documents and its supporting evidence base studies can be accessed via the Council’s website at www.ashfield-dc.gov.uk/localplan or residents can contact the Forward Planning Team on 01623 457381 for further information.
A copy of the Local Plan can be viewed at libraries . Unstaffed exhibitions will be positioned in the District’s main libraries (Kirkby, Sutton and Selston) and the Council Offices in Kirkby and Hucknall. The Council will also be holding the following staffed exhibitions:
Date Time Location
Tuesday, February 9: 3pm to 6.30pm John Godber Centre, Ogle Street, Hucknall, NG15 7FQ.
Tuesday, February 16: 4.15pm to 7.15pm Selston Old Parish Hall, Alfreton Road, Selston, NG16 6DJ
Wednesday February 17: 3pm to 7pm All Saints Centre, Common Road, Huthwaite, NG17 2JT.
Wednesday February 24: 3pm to 7pm Ashfield Homes Ltd, Broadway, Brook St, Sutton in Ashfield, NG17 1AL.
Tuesday March 1: 3pm to 7pm Healdswood Community Centre, Mansfield Road, Skegby, NG17 3EE.
Thursday March 3: 3pm to 7pm Ashfield DC, Council Chamber, Urban Road, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, NG17 8DA
At the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday, Opposition councillors had called in the decision for further scrutiny but their objections were rejected by the committee.
Last year, the council voted to withdraw its local plan after a Government inspector said it was probably “unsound”.
The authority must deliver the plan by 2017, or the council would lose its right to determine planning applications in the area.
At the meeting, Independent councillor Jason Zadrozny said: “We have significant concerns about the way the process has taken place.” He said brownfield sites had been ‘left to rot’ while green areas like Ashland Road west had been included in the plans. He said the council had not consulted properly with a cross party steering group and no clear scoring process for the allocations
He submitted a motion asking for the Preferred Local Plan to be referred back to the cross party steering committee to look again at the allocations.
The motion also included a recommendation to show better scoring and ranking to show why one site was in and others not included.
Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Don Davis, said: “The sites have been objectively assessed by the council as we are required to demonstrate that sites submitted are deliverable before they can be included in the Preferred Approach.
“The authority is really keen to develop brownfield sites and has assessed all brownfield sites submitted and has included all that are capable of delivery.
He added: “I welcome the public scrutiny that will be achieved by going out to public consultation but the call-in has effectively delayed that process.
“The risk is that if we don’t agree, or we delay the plan much longer, central Government will move in and, with no input from local residents or councillors, deliver a plan for us at a cost to the council. I don’t believe that any councillors or residents want this.
“Overview and Scrutiny Committee consented for us to go to public consultation, so let’s crack on as the clock is ticking. All comments will be recorded, analysed and reported to the appropriate steering group. Once this initial process has finished there will be further consultation with the public and a public scrutiny by the government inspector, so there is plenty of opportunity for everyone to have their say”.