Hucknall Whyburn Farm campaigners left waiting after motion calling for plan to be scrapped is recognised but not implemented.

A motion led by Hucknall councillors calling for a controversial plan for thousands of new homes in the town to be scrapped or replaced has been recognised by Ashfield District Council’s cabinet and moved on to the draft local plan working group.

Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 12:35 pm

But campaigners hoping to see the plan scrapped must wait longer.

The motion, put forward by Hucknall councillors Lauren Mitchell (Lab) and Kevin Rostance (Con) called for the draft local plan – which sets out where 8,226 homes will be built between now and 2038, including almost 5,000 homes for Hucknall with 3,000 on green belt land at Whyburn Farm – to be amended or scrapped.

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.

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As a result, the Mitchell and Rostance motion was instead absorbed into a new motion put forward cabinet member Matthew Relf (Ash Ind), which stated that the Mitchell and Rostance motion and it’s sentiments 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.

It means campaigners, while seeing strong support for their cause from Hucknall councillors at the meeting, must wait longer to see whether the plans will go ahead as councillors Relf and Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind), the council leader, again reiterated the fact that the plan was paused until the council had heard back from the Government after the authority requested clarity over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s comments at last year’s Tory Party Conference at which he said councils would not be forced to build on green field.

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

At the cabinet meeting, Coun Mitchell, who represents Hucknall South, said: “It is in your power to make a difference to the people of Hucknall.

"If you can pause it, you can pull it.”

Coun Rostance, who represents Hucknall West, attacked the Ashfield Independents, saying it was them who had put forward the plan, not the Government.

He said: “Hucknall cannot cope with any more development and to see the Independents trying to build on green belt is shocking.

"I call on the cabinet to do the right thing and scrap this plan.”

Coun Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind) hit back at Coun Rostance and accused him of not speaking up for the people of Hucknall at any of the meetings about the plan in the past three years.

Coun Chris Baron (Con), who represents Hucknall West, also asked to speak but was refused by Coun Zadrozny who said he had not submitted a request to do so.

This led to a clash between the two and then Coun Zadrozny and a member of the public which led to Coun Zadrozny threatening to stop the meeting unless order was restored.

However, Coun Baron was then given time to speak and said: “I have always sought to protect the green belt and 7,000 people cannot be wrong.

“The then Labour authority ignored some 7,000 people over shrinking the size of the bins.

"Please don’t make that mistake again by ignoring these people against the development of Whyburn Farm.

"I honestly believe, with that amount of objections, you need to stop and start again.”

Coun Zadrozny replied: “That is what the pause does, it allows us to stop and wait for the Government to give us clairity and then be more flexible without having to go through the whole process having to start again.”

Coun John Wilmott (Ash Ind), who represents Hucknall North, said: “I have never known opposition to a plan like this.

"We must protect our green belt for our walks, our wildlife and our picnics and to preserve the historic character of our towns.”

More to follow.