Campaigners stave off housing planned for woodland

FIGHT SUCCESS -- delighted residents of Forest Road, Annesley after the woodland-site decision
FIGHT SUCCESS -- delighted residents of Forest Road, Annesley after the woodland-site decision

CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating the perfect Christmas present — after controversial plans to build 97 houses on a part-woodland site in Annesley Woodhouse were thrown out by councillors.

More than 1,000 objections were submitted to Ashfield District Council against the proposal by Taylor Wimpey for a new housing estate off Forest Road.

Residents cited traffic congestion, the effect on wildlife, loss of allotments and the design of the properties among reasons for their opposition.

At the council’s planning committee, Forest Road resident Bob Collier, who is vice-chairman of the community group Annesley Community Committed to Ensuring Sustainable Developments (ACCESS), said: “Local residents of Annesley Woodhouse and surrounding areas have been opposing development of this site for nearly ten years.

“Recently the development has been extended to include part of Little Oak Plantation. At this moment, we are carrying out ongoing research to determine just how ancient these woodlands are. We are also working within the community to obtain permanent status for tree-protection orders.”

Concerned councillors backed the campaigners and blocked the plans in a unanimous vote.

Ashfield’s Liberal Democrat leader, Coun Jason Zadrozny, said: “I can’t think of a worse application.”

His views were echoed by council leader Coun John Knight (Lab), formerly of Hucknall.

Officers had recommended that the application be refused because the flood-risk assessment was not adequate and because more information on the ecology of the site was required.

Dominic Harman, managing director for Taylor Wimpey East Midlands, said: “We are disappointed with Ashfield Council’s decision to turn down our proposed new homes development in Annesley, particularly given that the site has been identified by the local authority for quite some considerable time.

“We remain firmly of the view that our proposed development would benefit the local community, providing new homes to meet future demand, including much-needed affordable housing. Through this sustainable development, we would also have provided additional investment for local infrastructure and public facilities.

“We will examine the council’s reasons for refusing the development and consider our options in an effort to find a suitable way forward.”

The chairman of ACCESS, Peter Olko, told the planning meeting that the proposals would lead to loss of natural habitat, character, environment and public amenity, and could increase crime.