Hucknall councillors from all parties pledge to fight 'catastrophic' plan for thousands of new houses in town

Hucknall councillors this week pledged to fight ‘catastrophic’ proposals for thousands of new homes in the town, including on precious green belt.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 3:15 pm

The Dispatch contacted Hucknall members of Ashfield District Council for their views on the emerging local plan, which earmarks Whyburn Farm for 3,000 properties.

Residents have called for action in their thousands – and want backing from their elected representatives.

Hucknall Labour councillors, Lauren Mitchell, who raised the alarm initially, and Keir Morrison, have already condemned the plans and pledged to fight ‘disastrous’ moves to ‘dump’ these houses on the town.

The Hucknall councillors who have spoken so far with the Whyburn Farm site in the background

The local plan sets out a blueprint for housing development up to 2038. It is presented by the ruling Ashfield Independents, who say it is a consequence of targets set by the Conservative government.

Now local members from across the political divide have also spoken out.

Coun Phil Rostance (Con) said: “If the draft local plan is approved in its current state the results would be catastrophic. I really don’t know what the Ashfield Independents are playing at, first they propose to split Hucknall in two and now this.“The strength of feeling locally is apparent. We must do all we can to protect Whyburn Farm and the other areas of our town that will be affected by these outrageous proposals.

"The immense lack of judgement by the Ashfield independents here is astonishing. This is how they repay those who have put their faith in them to deliver the best for Hucknall by destroying our green belt and dumping a staggering amount of housing on our town which they know is already at breaking point.“Our amazing community have come together in the best way possible and have already started the fight against these ludicrous plans.”He added: “All politics must be put aside for the sake of our town, members from both the Conservatives and Labour have already been in discussions and will be doing all we can to support residents to save our green belt.”

Coun Jim Blagden (Ash Ind), said: “I am totally opposed to this plan it is a disaster for Hucknall and I will oppose it at every stage.”

Fellow Ashfield Independent, Coun Lee Waters, pledged to fight the proposals ‘tooth and nail’.

He said: “I certainly do not want to see 3,000 new houses on Hucknall green belt. I do not think the current infrastructure can cope with it and if these houses are imposed on us then there needs to be appropriate infrastructure.

“Ashfield Council is now running a consultation, in which I encourage as many Hucknall residents as possible to raise objections.

“The Ashfield Independent Hucknall councillors have lobbied and have objected internally because we have not been happy with this situation at all. The Council has launched a consultation and we would like all of Hucknall to get involved in this to get people’s thoughts and opinions.”

He added: “I will say that the whole reason for these house-building targets is an arbitrary building target essentially set by the Conservative government. To that point we are actually going to be writing to Mark Spencer, as our local MP, and more than that, the government chief whip, and we are going to invite him to join us on a campaign to reduce Ashfield’s housing target by 3,000. That should eliminate that scale in Hucknall.

“We have got, as our MP, one of the most powerful people in the whole of the UK. He has got the ear of the whole Tory government. If someone has the power to stop this, it is Mark Spencer, so I’d like him to support Hucknall by removing the housebuilding target the Conservative government has put on us.”

Long-standing Hucknall representative Coun Chris Baron, now representing the Conservatives, said: “The Whyburn Farm development is too much and too soon after the other major sites in Hucknall.

“Hucknall has had more than its fair share of housing over the past ten years and now it’s the turn of Kirkby and Sutton.

“Ironically, the major site for Ashfield before the Ashfield Independents withdrew the local plan in 2018 was the Westermans site at Kirkby Cross - a sustainable development protecting the older part of Kirkby.

“Hucknall residents were assured by the Ashfield Independents that they would protect the green belt. What a joke and a misleading promise.

He added: “They have a lot to answer for.”

Coun Dave Shaw (Ash Ind), said: “I can categorically say I am totally apposed to the development on this site (Whyburn Farm). I will do everything I can to protect this valuable asset to the community I represent and live in.

"This is nothing more than shameful. Our MP mark Spencer has to shoulder some of the burden by having such high figures of development for us in Ashfield.”

Fellow Asfield Independent Coun John Wilmott commented: “I am totally against this proposal and will be fighting hard against it happening

"We have little green-belt land left in Hucknall but please think a little before putting the blame on anyone. The government has insisted Ashfield must build more than 400 houses per year over the next two decades – a phenomenal amount of housing on top of the housing already being built in the area.

"It is far too many so it is essential the residents get together and write in on this issue to the council’s consultation, condemning the proposals of so many houses in Hucknall.

"You may also like to write to

Sherwood MP Mark Spencer and ask him to ask his Government to

reduce Ashfield District Council housing allocation to a more manageable

proportion over the next two decades.

I am sure there will be many meetings on this issue and the Hucknall

Independent Councillors will be there to support the Residents .It is essential

If more houses are to be built infrastructure must be provided that must

include a new Comprehensive School, a state of the art surgery complete

with small operation unit, a Social Services unit, A Children’s and Young

Peoples unit and a safer road network and a regeneration programme for

more shops in the High Street. The consultation period with

residents starts on the 4th October for a six week period and how to

respond to it is on Ashfield District Councils Web Sight.