Hucknall Whyburn Farm campaigner accuses council of having 'something to hide' over non-debate of key motion

One of the leading campaigners against controversial proposals to dump 3,000 new homes on green belt land at Whyburn Farm in Hucknall has accused Ashfield District Council of having ‘something to hide’.

Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 5:10 pm

Jemma Chambers, founder of the Hucknall Against Whyburn Development group, will be at the full council meeting this afternoon (Thursday) where the group’s petition containing more than 7,600 signatures will be debated.

But a motion from Hucknall South councillor Lauren Mitchell (Lab) calling for the council to ‘amend, and potentially replace, its current draft plan in relation to proposals for the housing on green belt in Hucknall, will not now be debated as planned after council officers ruled that the motion would instead be moved for discussion by the council’s cabinet in January.

The cabinet has just one Hucknall councillor in it – Coun John Wilmott who represents Hucknall North.

Whyburn campaigners have been left frustrated that only their petition will be debated by the council and not a key motion against the plans for 3,000 new homes on Hucknall green belt

Jemma said: “I’m just frustrated, really frustrated, what are they (the ruling Ashfield Independents) trying to hide?

"Why won’t they debate the motion in full council, what are they waiting for?

"This whole thing doesn’t actually change anything because this was always going to go back to cabinet and they’ve already put the plan through so why would they change their minds for this motion?

"And also, why are they spending public money on legal experts when they already have legal officers within the council to help them use the constitution against constituents when constituents should be the ones they should be trying to protect, not themselves.

"That’s why I get so cross, why won’t they enter into a healthy debate, it looks like they’re hiding something."

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But while Coun Mitchell’s motion won’t be debated, Jemma added that she was looking forward to hearing the debate on the group’s petition.

She continued: “I’m looking forward to seeing how that debate goes and who says what because it should show who is in support of the plans or not.

"They have to accept the petition but what they then do with it is up to them.

"My fear is they don’t have the interest in what the people want, they don’t seem to care because if they did, they’d debate the motion.”

Responding, Coun Lee Waters (Ash Ind), who represents Hucknall North, said: “I am as upset as anybody that the legal ruling based on external legal advice have precluded any formal debate.

Couns Mitchell and Kevin Rostance (Con) – who represents Hucknall West – both played key roles in putting this plan together, something they are playing down.

"I will be speaking at the meeting in favour of the Hucknall petition and am as keen as local campaigners to stop these plans caused by arbitrary housing targets set by the Government and will fight tooth and nail to get these targets reduced.”

Coun John Wilmott (Ash Ind), who also represents Hucknall North, added: “I have been very vocal against this local plan from day one and have always been very clear about this.

"I will speaking very clearly about my opposition to building on green belt at Whyburn Farm and other areas in Hucknall.”