Leader claims Ashfield being 'blackmailed' by government, resulting in proposal thousands of houses in Hucknall
The leader of Ashfield District Council claims the authority is being ‘blackmailed’ by the Government, resulting in proposals for thousands of new homes in Hucknall.
And Coun Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind) added that the government could strip the council of all planning powers if the authority doesn’t adopt the local plan.
The council has been under fire since the Dispatch revealed Ashfield’s emerging local plan, pinpointing sites for almost 5,000 homes in Hucknall, includes a proposal for 3,000 on green-belt land at Whyburn Farm.
But Coun Zadrozny says that unless they do it to meet Government housing targets for Ashfield, decisions on future planning applications could be made for the district by Nottinghamshire County Council or even in Whitehall itself.
Coun Zadrozny said: “We have set out the reality to government that we can only build 1,109 houses on former industrial land.
"To ask this council to give permission for 8,226 houses is as unrealistic as it is unfair. Yet, Government bosses tell us that we must bulldoze our beloved green belt to meet their targets.
"If we don’t they will strip our council of powers and hit us financially.
"We are being essentially blackmailed – pure and simple.”
Coun Zadrozny highlighted the controversy in South Oxfordshire last year when the Government threatened to remove planning powers from the authority if their local plan was not adopted.
Coun Zadrozny has now written to Government asking them to clarify comments made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson at last week’s Conservative party conference when he said the Government didn’t plan to insist on building on green belt.
Coun Zadrozny continued: “We intend to complete the first part of the consultation which ends in November but then will be looking for direction from the Government on how to proceed.
"I would ask any concerned resident to take part in the consultation.
"However, if Boris Johnson is true to his word, then our housing targets will be dramatically reduced.
"We will then go back to the drawing board and consult on brownfield sites only.
"This will mean that sites like Whyburn Farm will be safe from development.”