Protest begins against plan for new 800-home village at Top Wighay Farm

Top Wighay Farm on the Hucknall/Linby border is at the heart of another development controversy.
Top Wighay Farm on the Hucknall/Linby border is at the heart of another development controversy.

Feelings were running high this week at an event to outline details of another controversial plan for Top Wighay Farm on the Hucknall/Linby border that will create a new village.

Nottinghamshire County Council has dropped a bombshell announcement that it hopes to build 805 new homes, including affordable ones, on the mainly agricultural site, which it owns.

The proposal also includes land for offices, a primary school, village hall, shops and day-to-day services, including medical services.

However, in keeping with previous ideas for Top Wighay Farm, the scheme has been met with anger across Hucknall and Linby.

Protesters are furious that vast swathes of the countryside will be built on, even though the council has promised to include public open space, walking and cycling networks, allotments, children’s play areas and extensive landscaping as part of the plan.

Others feel the infrastructure of Hucknall would not be able to cope with so many new homes.

Critis expressed their views at a public exhibition, held in Linby on Tuesday, and also took to Facebook to complain.

Comments on Facebook included this from David Newton: “Why does everyone seem to be conspiring against the people of Hucknall by slowly and inexorably ridding the town of its recreational green spaces? We have already lost the battle over the Wigwam playing fields.”

Many people, including Carol Barker and Faye Martin, feared the risk of flooding would increase if the plan went ahead, with Carol stressing that houses should be built on former industrial sites, not green land.

Tina Beasley was worried that Linby, which was already “inundated by traffic, using the village as a rat run”, would lose its identity.

Gillian Poole branded the scheme ‘ridiculous’, and Shane Thomson ‘absolutely bonkers’, while Kim Jackson insisted: “The powers-that-be won’t be happy until every bit of land has been built on.”

Top Wighay Farm was initially allocated as housing and employment land in Gedling Borough Council’s Local Plan back in 1996. Since then, the site has been the subject of numerous disputes, wrangles and heated campaigns against development.

The county council intends to submit a planning application for the latest project early next year. A spokesman said: “Demand for housing is high, and not enough homes are being built.

“We are facing a growing housing shortage as people are living longer and in smaller houses.”

The council’s corporate director of place, Adrian Smith, said: “We were delighted that so many local people attended the event in Linby on Tuesday which provided us with the opportunity to share the proposed plans.

“The development will be a new village, with green spaces, cycleways and walkways built in from the beginning, together with a primary school, local playing field and provision for changing rooms and a village hall.

“There are also plans for shops, medical facilities and more, to make this a real community. The plans also allocate space for prestige office buildings, including a new building for the county council, which will support employment in the area.

“We appreciate and welcome the views of residents to help us ensure the development will meet the needs of local people.

“For anyone who was unable to attend the event, they can view the plans and make their comments online at www.topwighayfarmdevelopment.co.uk before the deadline of December 6.

“Once all comments have been reviewed, a planning application will be submitted in early 2020 to Gedling Borough Council, who will then undertake their own consultation.”