Frustration as call to scrap plan for thousands of new homes in Hucknall is 'kicked down the road' by council

A Hucknall councillor says Ashfield District Council has ‘kicked the can down the road’ after it failed to fully back a call to scrap a controversial plan that could see thousands of new homes built in Hucknall and, in the process, destroy swathes of the town’s green belt.

Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 5:07 pm

Lauren Mitchell (Lab) who represents Hucknall South, and Kevin Rostance (Con), who represents Hucknall West, submitted a cross-party motion that called for the draft local plan – which sets out where 8,226 homes will be built in Ashfield between now and 2038, including almost 5,000 homes for Hucknall with 3,000 of them on green belt land at Whyburn Farm – to be amended or scrapped.

Frustratingly this received just 15 minutes of debate time at a previous full meeting last year but came before a meeting of the council’s cabinet this week – alongside a 7,000-name petition against the Whyburn proposal.

However, while the cabinet recognised the motion and accepted its sentiments, it was pointed out that it could not be simply accepted or rejected by cabinet as the draft local plan steering group had to be involved in shaping the plan.

Coun Lauren Mitchell says the council has 'kicked the can down the road' over Whyburn Farm

And it left Coun Mitchell feeling disappointed.

She said: “The cabinet had the chance to back Hucknall residents and go back to the drawing board with the draft local plan, but instead they’ve kicked the can down the road and passed it on to another meeting.

"The fight will go on.”

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

The Mitchell and Rostance motion was instead absorbed into a new motion put forward by cabinet member Matthew Relf (Ash Ind), which stated that it would be recognised and moved on to be considered by the draft local plan working group, which will then make recommendations that will be reported back to council for debate.

The meeting heard representations from campaigners against the proposed Whyburn Farm as well as from several Hucknall councillors opposed to the plans.

The petition was accepted by the cabinet and will also go on the local plan working party to help shape the future plan.

Coun Mitchell added: “I’m also disappointed that the cabinet decided only to ‘note’ the petition rather than reject the development proposals, which is what residents signed for.

She congratulated residents for their efforts and urged them to “keep up the pressure.”