Wednesday 17 July 2024
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Homes planned on popular green belt land could be refused by council

Plans to build 100 homes on popular Hucknall green belt land could be refused by councillors next week.

Ashfield District Council’s planning committee will meet on June 14 to discuss the plans off Common Lane known locally as ‘Misk Hills’.

Aldergate Properties Ltd put forward the proposals last year during ongoing uncertainty over the council’s draft local housing plan.

The developer wants permission to build up to 100 homes on part of Leivers’ Hill, with access planned off Common Lane.

The company also owns neighbouring land including Beacon Hill, Long Hill and other sections of Leivers’ Hill, up to the site’s boundary with Whyburn Lane.

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If approved, the developer says its current application would feature a “mix of dwelling types” to offer a “high-quality residential development”.

However, the authority will recommend refusing the plans over concerns about the impact on the green belt.

It follows longstanding campaigns from Hucknall residents to protect the town’s green spaces following the publication of the council’s emerging housing strategy in 2021.

The draft plan initially included 3,000 homes on the green belt at Whyburn Farm.

But a petition with nearly 8,000 signatures called for this site to be dropped and for all other green Hucknall sites to be protected due to the impact on wildlife and infrastructure.

The site will now no longer be taken forward and an amended, reduced local plan is expected to be published in the coming months.

On the Misk Hill plans, the council received 87 public objections including concerns over highways and the impact on “over-capacity” local services.

In next week’s meeting, the authority’s planning department will agree with these concerns and tell councillors the plan should be refused.

The department said in a report: “The introduction of the dwellings … would not preserve the openness of the site, or wider countryside in this location.

“It would urbanise this currently pleasant route through the land. [It] would result in a further urbanising impact, resulting in the area having a suburban feel to it and the rural character would be lost forever.”

However, developers said the plans should be backed due to the council’s current lack of a housing strategy and because it is not demonstrating a five-year supply of new housing.

It said: “The emerging local plan is a long way off being adopted and there are unresolved questions … as to when, if at all, it will be progressed by the council.

“The council is therefore not in a position to meet its local housing need and has in the last two years failed its housing delivery test.”

But responding, the authority said: “The council acknowledges its housing land shortfall and recognises the delivery of housing would represent a significant benefit.

“[However], the national planning policy framework states ‘substantial weight’ should be given to any harm to the green belt.

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“[It states] ‘very special circumstances’ will not exist unless the potential harm to the green belt, by reason of inappropriateness, and any other harm resulting from the proposal, is clearly outweighed.”

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