Plea not to turn Hucknall ‘into building site for next 25 years’

MP MARK SPENCER -- 'There is a feeling that Gedling is giving its problems to Ashfield to solve'
MP MARK SPENCER -- 'There is a feeling that Gedling is giving its problems to Ashfield to solve'

HUCKNALL should not be “turned into a building site for the next 25 years”.

That was the emphatic declaration at a meeting to discuss proposals that could see thousands of new houses built on the outskirts of the town, at Top Wighay Farm, near the border with Linby.

Strong objections were again voiced against the scheme, even though only EIGHT locals turned up to the meeting.

A flood of residents and community activists had been expected at the event, held at the Under One Roof centre on Vine Terrace on Monday morning.

Gedling Borough Council has suggested the Top Wighay site could be used for between 500 and 4,500 hew homes. It has been pinpointed as ‘Option One’ in a range of schemes to meet the council’s housing needs over the next 18 years.

However the proposal has sparked uproar among local politicians and residents.

At this week’s meeting, Gedling’s service manager for planning, Peter Baguley, was on hand to answer questions at a summit chaired by Hucknall’s Labour MP, Mark Spencer.

Coun Ian Morrison (Lab), a Hucknall member of Ashfield District Council, made the comment about Hucknall becoming a building site.

He said: “We cannot sustain any more building on our periphery from other authorities.

“We have Nottingham City Council wanting to build on one side, Broxtowe Borough Council on another and Gedling on another.

“We are under pressure from all sides. I am of the opinion that there won‘t be one house built around Hucknall without protest and people letting these authorities know how we feel.”

Mr Spencer, who is a former member of Gedling Council, said: “Our postbags are full from people who have a genuine feeling of unfairness.

“There is a feeling that Gedling is giving its problems to Ashfield to solve.”

Mr Baguley said that under the Regional Spatial Strategy, housing need has been calculated across Greater Nottingham.

He said the city didn’t have huge swathes of housing land and, therefore, the onus was on councils, such as Gedling, to meet that need.

He was adamant that no decision had been taken about Top Wighay and he was confident that Gedling councillors would consider all the options and try to make the correct decision.

Any plans are likely to go before a public inquiry before being ratified. The whole process could take two years.

Coun Mick Murphy (Con), a Hucknall member of Notts County Council, hit out at Gedling, saying: “Your planners have been very clever in choosing Top Wighay, knowing full well it would have no impact on your infrastructure. I am going to aggressively oppose this.

“Where are these new residents going to go to work and how will they get there? I think everyone in Hucknall should oppose this proposal.”

Mr Baguley said a joint investigation with Notts County Council and other district and borough councils was being carried out to look at the impact of new housing across the whole of Greater Nottingham.

He said this will take into account infrastructure, such as roads and schools, flooding risks and traffic.