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Plans to build new homes on popular recreation ground in Nottinghamshire

Ashfield District Council has been told to “think again” by residents as it plans to turn a recreation ground into new social housing.

The Ashfield Independent-led authority is consulting on plans for up to 30 new social homes on Hardwick Lane recreation ground in Sutton.

The nearly 100-year-old recreation land has been included as the group plans to find sites for more than 200 new social homes by 2027.

Derek and Margaret Young both want Hardwick Lane recreation ground to be protected
Derek and Margaret Young both want Hardwick Lane recreation ground to be protected

The council wants to reduce a significant waiting list for new homes, which means hundreds of people are bidding for properties whenever they become available.

But people living nearby have united against the plans and a petition with more than 500 signatures has urged for the homes to be shelved.

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Campaigners say other more suitable sites should be used first rather than removing much-loved green space.

Ashfield District Council wants to turn Hardwick Lane recreation ground in Sutton into new social homes

Henry Lloyd, 82, is a former quantity surveyor who has lived in the area all his life and remembers playing football on the recreation ground as a boy.

“The council should think again about it,” he said.

“A lot more could be done with it [rather than housing] and the costs wouldn’t be excessive. It would just be a boost for the area and the kids.”

Margaret and Derek Young, a married couple with close links to the area, also urged the authority to reconsider its plans.

Derek, 87, who grew up on nearby Reform Street, said: “It’s been a feature for us and a lot of people for so many years.

“It’s such a shame. There’s other land they could build council houses on.”

Maria Linfield, 44, lives next to the recreation ground and regularly uses it with her 18-year-old daughter Casey Johnson.

Casey has DiGeorge syndrome, a rare condition affecting about 180 parts of her body and causing lifelong issues like heart defects and learning difficulties.

They use the land to improve Casey’s mental and physical health and her mum Maria says the plans would be “horrendous” during and after construction.

She said: “With the noise, pollution, the dust on my daughter’s chest, it would mean longer periods in hospital when we’re trying our best to keep her well.

“Once the homes are up, we’ve lost access to nice, green space on days when she’s not feeling great.

“It’s straight on our doorstep and it’s safe and it’s a lot more accessible than having to access other parks like Sutton Lawn.”

An Ashfield Independents spokesman said the group has been in “dialogue” with Maria and her family regarding the plans.

He said planned improvements to facilities for disabled users will be made to the nearby Twitchell Park.

The spokesman added: “Any houses [on Hardwick Lane] will not be anywhere near their property on the corner, where there will be a green and open space.”

A council report previously added the land has been included in its plans because there are a “number of alternative parks” in the area.

The report said the council is “duty-bound” to consult residents, adding the plan will be brought back “for further consideration” if there is opposition.

The Ashfield Independents spokesman says the political group is “happy to listen to any meaningful feedback” on opposition to the housing.

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However, he said this must be “measured against the desperate need for new housing” in the district.

On the concerns raised by residents, Cllr Tom Hollis (Ash Ind), the authority’s deputy leader and cabinet member for strategic housing, added: “The Twitchell Park and Sutton Lawn are only minutes away.

“They are just two of the parks we have invested millions in across Ashfield.

“What we are talking about is dozens more council homes that would transform the lives of even more families.

“Hardwick Rec has remained derelict for years and therefore developing it is the right thing to do.

“All works will be carried out according to national health and safety guidelines and with the least disruption possible.”

 

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