Thursday 18 April 2024
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Plans for 204 homes on disused quarry refused a second time

Plans to build 204 homes on a wildlife quarry which were previously refused have again been turned down following a lengthy appeal process.

Mansfield District Council’s planning committee unanimously refused the development, at Gregory Quarry, off Nottingham Road, when councillors met in July last year.

The authority’s planning department had recommended refusal at the time over the potential impact of the scheme on the environment.

The development site had not been allocated as part of the council’s local housing plan and was deemed to negatively impact designated wildlife.

It was also found the plans offered an “inability to protect” the nearby Quarry Lane Nature Reserve.

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Concerns were raised by Nottinghamshire County Council, as the highways authority, over access proposals.

In issuing the refusal last year, councillors wanted to put a “strong” report together to ensure the plans do not return in the future.

However, applicant Lee O’Connor appealed against the council’s decision and a public inquiry was held by the Government’s planning inspectorate earlier this year.

Public events were held at the council’s Civic Centre headquarters in April, with residents, councillors and the developer making their case for why the plans should or should not be approved.

Now the inspectorate has issued its verdict and deemed the plans are “unacceptable”, meaning they will not go ahead.

In her report, the inspectorate Siobhan Watson said: “Whilst there are some benefits to the scheme, including the provision of market and affordable housing, these do not outweigh the cumulative harm I have found.

“The loss of the [green infrastructure], whatever type of habitat existed, and the harm to local greenspace and community open space, are sufficient to make the scheme unacceptable even without the additional biodiversity harm.

“The proposal, therefore, conflicts with the development plan as a whole and does not represent sustainable development.”

The news has been welcomed by councillors who continued to oppose the plans as the development went up for appeal.

Councillor Andre Camilleri (Con), who represents Mansfield South on Nottinghamshire County Council said: “It’s fantastic news.

“The Maun Conservation Group has done a lot of work on this and the local residents’ association.

“It’s a fantastic result because it saves these nature reserves for the future. Mansfield hasn’t got much heritage but this is one of them.

“This shows what you can do by working together, with the result being something that’s better for the people of Mansfield.”

Cllr Robert Elliman (Con), who represents the Oakham ward of the district council where the plans could have been based, added: “[It’s great news, many thanks to everyone who helped us get the right result.

“[The] planning department at MDC – which often gets bashed but has been really helpful – I have nothing but praise for. [It] kept us informed and managed the process really well.”

Mr O’Connor could not immediately be reached for a comment on the appeal dismissal.

However, he previously described his plans as an “exceptional residential environment” that both “embraces ecology and the needs of the wider community.

He previously added: “As we look to post-pandemic recovery, Mansfield needs to be shouting louder than other areas in attracting that much-needed investment.

“Projects like Gregory Quarry are important in building confidence, attracting and supporting wider investment to the Mansfield area.”

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