Ashfield MP slams council leader as 'incompetent' over Hucknall local plan housing controversy

Ashfield MP Lee Anderson has criticised district council leader Jason Zadrozny in the House of Commons over controversial draft local plan proposals to build new housing on Hucknall green belt.

Friday, 22nd October 2021, 3:01 pm

The draft plan has prompted a furious backlash from residents opposed to any development of green belt land in the town.

Coun Zadrozny (Ash Ind) has said this week that the plans would be paused after the current public consultation period ends while he awaits a reply from the Prime Minister clarifying comments made in his speech at the Tory party conference about safeguarding green belt land from being developed.

But Mr Anderson (Con) called this ‘a desperate attempt to save face’.

Speaking in the chamber, Mr Anderson said: “In 2018, the Independent leader of Ashfield District Council ripped up the draft local plan and promised to deliver a new plan and build 8,000 houses over 15 years and protect our green belt.

"Yet two weeks ago, he published his new plan, which totally obliterates our green spaces.

"In a desperate attempt to save face, he is now the only council leader in the country to write to our Prime Minister to see how we can save our green belt land.”

Mr Anderson described this as ‘staggering incompetence that had left residents furious’ and went on to call for a debate on planning to be held in Parliament ‘as a reminder to local authorities that it was their job to decide where houses should be built, not the Prime Minister’s’.

Lee Anderson (left) has criticised Jason Zadrozny over the draft local plan

Coun Zadrozny replied: “The man is out of his depth, doesn’t understand his role or what he’s talking about.

“He should be hanging his head in shame what his Tory party are making councils do but instead he uses Parliamentary privilege to slander those of us who have their despotic edicts forced upon us.

"He really should resign now, he has done nothing good for Ashfield and continues to be an obtuse and inane embarrassment.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg MP (Con), leader of the house, said: “Local authorities have responsibilities which they should not try and pass on to other people.

"Local authorities are prevented from altering the green belt boundary unless in exceptional circumstances, that is the point of green belt."

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