Petition against plans to build 3,000 homes on Hucknall's Whyburn Farm accepted by council cabinet

A petition against Ashfield District Council’s draft local plan proposals to build 3,000 new homes on green belt land at Whyburn Farm in Hucknall has been accepted by the authority’s cabinet.

Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 11:22 am

At a cabinet meeting today (Tuesday), the petition was debated and then accepted to be moved through as part of the evidence base for the cross-party steering group to consider and work with in the future development of theplan

The petition, which was started by Mandy Shaw, a leading member of the Hucknall Against Whyburn Farm Development (HAWFD) campaign group, was started after the council announced plans to build 5,000 new homes in Hucknall – 3,000 of which have been earmarked for green belt land at Whyburn Farm.

The petition gained more than 7,000 signatures and was handed in to the council in November.

Members of the Hucknall Against Whyburn Farm Development group handed in their petition back in November

However, there was huge controversy the following month when the petition received just 15 minutes of discussion and a separate motion on the issue was deferred to cabinet.

However, at the cabinet meeting, campaigners and those opposed to the plans had the chance to have their say in a debate.

Jemma Chambers, from the HAWFD, said at the meeting: “Hucknall has already had it’s fair share of housing and we need to protect the green belt.

"We’ve had enough of being dumped on and it’s apparent Hucknall is a dumping ground for Ashfield.

"The infrastructure in Hucknall is already struggling and Hucknall has had enough.

"Whyburn Farm is green belt, not green fields, and there is a stark difference.

"Green belt is there to stop urban sprawl.

“Whyburn is also home to wildlife that would otherwise struggle to find a home.”

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Hucknall councillors Lee Waters and Dave Shaw (both Ash Ind), who both represent Hucknall North at the council, also both spoke ahead of the cabinet debate.

Coun Waters said: “Whybnurn Farm must be removed from the plan.

"People use this space every day to get out on walks and be with family.

"It is also home to wildlife.

"I do not want to see 3,000 new homes on Hucknall green belt.

"In my view, this development will cause considerable harm to the people of Hucknall.”

Coun Shaw added: “The draft plan is an assault on the green belt.

"I appreciate the council is under pressure from the Government but this plan is not just a threat to Whyburn Farm but also to Subbings Wood.

"With development already taking place at Top Wighay Farm and plans for housing from Gedling, the air quality, which is already poor, will get even worse.

"We should be there as custodians of green belt land and protecting it.”

"Hucknall is just going to become an urban sprawl and we don’t have the appropriate infrastructure.

"I urge the council to adopt a five-year plan and put the green belt in the hands of the people and protect what we have left.”

During the debate, cabinet member Coun John Wilmott (Ash Ind), who also represents Hucknall North, called for the council to reject the plan in its current form.

He said: “I myself have written my objections to the draft local plan and I cannot support it.

“While I have breath in my body, I will not support any plan that builds on the green belt.

Coun Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind), council leader, again laid the blame for the plan at the Government’s door for imposing housing targets and imposing set timing targets for delivering these plans.

He also said they continued to wait for the Government to respond their request for confirmation on the Prime Minister’s comments at last year’s Conservative Party Conference in which he said he wouldn’t for councils to build on green field sites.

The plan is currently paused and Coun Zadrozny said this would remain the case indefinitely.

He said: “This council is doing nothing more on this local plan until the Government comes back to us.

"If they want us to carry out this plan, they need to say so and if not, they need to say so too.

"At no point ever has this council turned round and stuck up two fingers to the people of Hucknall and said we are carrying on with this plan anyway.

"There is no burning desire for any councillors to go out and bulldoze a green field and that is precisely why we have paused this plan.

"I would much rather us take a bit longer and get something right rather than just railroad something through at the behest of the Government.”