LETTER: Lindhurst scheme will leave town in chaos for years to come

Artist's impression of the development
Artist's impression of the development

The Mayor’s article in the Chad recently takes the biscuit. He spends most of the time in the column talking about the Lindhurst development. Now whether you are in favour or not, let’s just remind ourselves of some of the facts.

He talks about “Public Consultations”. These “consultations” consisted of developers telling residents what they were going to do, in my opinion.

Early in the process, statements were made about what benefits in terms of new jobs the MARR had brought to date, which when investigated through FOI were found to be groundless. The opinions of others with genuine misgivings about the development were disregarded with distain, I believe.

Mansfield District Council decided, for whatever reason, that it would throw out Local Plan restrictions and support the development “outside the urban boundary”because of “exceptional circumstances” and the development went to the famous planning meeting – a complete shambles.

MORE ON THIS STORY: Lindhurst development appeal rejected by top London judges

Residents raised £20,000 to fight Lindhurst development

All opinions to the contrary, from residents and authorities, were totally disregarded, and outline planning permission was granted ­ to quote the Mayor, “On the largest planning application that this authority has handled for decades” on the casting vote of the chairman who had already voted in favour! The vote was balanced five for and five against with three abstentions. In no way what so ever could this decision be regarded as democratic.

How three planning committee members could be allowed to abstain on such a project beggars belief. Legal but stupid.

If the councillors in question couldn’t make their minds up they should have voted against – political or what! And the mayor and council have the audacity to be proud of the fact that the project has so far been given the go ­ahead.

Is it any wonder that opposition to the plan has held up progress for the past three years? Localism? ­ Baloney! He says “genuine concerns that were raised have been resolved” —­ they have not! Evidently the project is “vital for the regeneration and growth of the entire district”. He must know something we don’t!

The mayor makes no mention of the fact that the future housing needs of the district can be met by the useful development of brownfield sites, and that alternative greenfield sites with planning permission granted are still standing empty.

A similar contradiction exists when it comes to employment sites – how long has the Summit site been empty and forlorn. But no – the mayor and council have fallen for the smooth talking of Lindhurst developers and the die is cast. Forever we will have lost one of the last remaining countryside areas in Mansfield. And as for a “high quality southern gateway” – if you think the traffic is busy on the MARR and Nottingham Road, wait for some 3,000 extra vehicles trying to use it when the site is complete.

Which brings us on to the MARR. The road was and remains a RELIEF ROAD – it’s a bypass! A relief road has been mooted in Mansfield for the past 50 odd years, and this is it! It was never built with regeneration in mind. When approving funds, the Government Office said, “it was hoped that the completion of the road would encourage regeneration” – it was never a condition. The mayor further states that some 10,000 new jobs have been created to date as a result of the MARR completion but as yet his office has not responded to a request for details about the claim.

Where I would agree with him is that all parties have shown the greatest respect when arguing differing points of view. Having been a longstanding supporter of Tony Eggington I am surprised that he tied his colours to the Lindhurst mast and sees this as one of his sustainable legacies. His “get it through at all costs” attitude and the fact that he accepted the farce of the planning meeting will have enabled the developers to reap the financial benefits, and will leave the South of Mansfield with utter chaos for years to come. How better is would have been if the same effort and money had been directed at trying to give the centre of Mansfield some identity of which we could all be proud.

Neil Smith

Address supplied

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Will the development bring much-needed homes - or traffic chaos? To send us your thoughts, CLICK HERE