Hucknall proposal for 3,000 new houses slammed by Dispatch readers as 'bloody stupid and shameful'

Dispatch readers have slammed a plan that suggests 3,000 new homes should be built in Hucknall – dubbing the proposal ‘shameful’ and calling on town representatives to resign over the controversy.

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 9:23 am
The Local Plan document includes provision for thousands of new homes

As revealed by the Dispatch, the Ashfield Independents administration at Ashfield District Council has decided to move forward with the next stage of its Local Plan, with a six-week consultation starting in October.

The plan outlines the authority’s blueprint for housing and wider development until 2038 and includes site possibilities for 8,226 homes, the biggest of which is suggested for green-belt land at Whyburn Farm in Hucknall, which is opposite the current 800-home development at Top Wighay Farm.

The move has already drawn heavy criticism from members of the public, Hucknall MP Mark pencer and Hucknall’s Labour members of Ashfield District Council, who have dubbed it ‘disastrous’.

Now members of the public have had their say through the Dispatch’s social media platforms.

Amanda Smith said the plans were “bloody stupid” and “shameful”.

Vince Valentine said on Facebook: “We are completely and utterly being let down by our elected representatives. They should hang their heads in shame if this goes through. Our doctors and dentists are over subscribed, our schools are at bursting point and the infrastructure (including roads and shops) is completely lacking.”

He added: “Best thing our elected representatives can do is resign. They do not, and have never, represented the electorate of this town.”

Frank Nicholson said: “Just keep building anywhere, we all like a concrete jungle.”

Robert Shepherd said: “I don’t know why they keep trying to build thousands of houses in Hucknall when the town can’t cope with the people it’s got! Now they want to destroy the beautiful countryside surrounding it!”

Much of the anger focused on a previous statement in the media from the Ashfield Independents that, after being elected, they ‘ripped up’ Labour’s housing plan which ‘wanted to build on the green spaces we hold so dear’.

Samantha Daft said: “Clearly our elected Ashfield Independents doing a massive u-turn after opposing some of Labour’s previous plans to build on the Ashfield district green belt land.

"Obviously the green spaces that the Independents holds so dear don't apply to Hucknall.”

Alice Grice said: “So when the Ashfield Independents pulled the previous plan because it built on too much greenbelt, what they actually meant is too much of Kirkby and Sutton's greenbelt!”

Ash Reynolds said: “I thought this would happen when they approved building on Top Wighay. Enough is Enough now. This should be opposed as it is pretty much the last green space we have in Hucknall.”

Earlier this week, members of the council’s Cabinet confirmed they are not entirely happy with the level of housing in the plan. They say the Government is setting too high a target for the number of houses to be built each year. Something Mr Spencer has rubbished.

If approved, the document would allow 457 new homes to be built in the district every year until 2038. This was down from a Government target of more than 800.

Speaking at the meeting, councillors said it means putting forward a “controversial” plan which includes building on greenbelt land.

Councillor Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind), leader of the council, said: “There’s no getting away from the fact this plan is controversial because some people don’t want to see changes [to their communities].

“But I feel our cross-party working group, and the portfolio holder, have done a significant amount of work to steer this in a more positive way.

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The proposed Hucknall development also includes employment land. Around 1,600 of the homes will be delivered by 2038.

This development includes plans for a potential extension to the tram network and a park-and-ride facility.

It also includes proposals for an on-site primary school, a local centre with retail and community facilities, and seeks contributions towards secondary education.

The consultation will see the authority issue information on its website, hold in-person events with Covid-safe measures, and display copies of the plan, documents and posters in libraries.

A second consultation is planned in March and April next year, with the document expected to be submitted to the Government in August 2022.