Residents opposed to plans to build a “brand new city” on green belt land said it would push the region to a “breaking point”.
The Local Plan Project for Ashfield has proposed that a new development that will bring an additional 3,000 homes be built on the Hucknall Greenbelt at Whyburn Farm.
But the plans have prompted residents to organize by the thousands against the plans, which they say will push the region’s infrastructure to “breaking point.”
Jemma Chambers, 39, lives on Whyburn Lane and created a Facebook group to oppose the plan, which reached nearly 2,000 members in one week.
Jemma said: “It started with only six people I know in the area, but the strength of the feelings was incredible and all of a sudden there are 2000 members and it just exploded.
“There are so many concerns, I really believe this would be the breaking point for our already strained services.
“My husband and I have lived here for six years and we have a doctor’s appointment during this time as there is no GP here.
“The traffic is already ridiculous and the infrastructure is in ruins, there are already houses under construction and there are no school spaces for children.
“Across the road, 800 homes are being built on the green belt land my husband calls Hucknall’s right lung. The Whyburn development will eliminate the left lung.
“This is where people go after work and relax and so many people said they didn’t know what they were going to do without it for their mental health.
“One thing Covid did made everyone more grateful to step into nature and greenery and that would hurt that.
“People are desperate for the loss of this space and the crippling effect it will have on our community – there are so many aspects that this shouldn’t be happening and that is why so many people are doing it. imply. “
The development of Whyburn Farm is part of Ashfield District Council wider housing and development plan until 2038, including two large housing estates
If approved, the document would allow 457 new homes to be built in the district each year through 2038. This is a drop from the government’s target of over 800.
Jemma added: “Hucknall only has about 30,000 people and with these houses, assuming four people per house, that’s going to increase the population by 25%.
“We’re not the ‘not in my backyard’ type of people, we understand that houses are needed, but there are brownfields everywhere so it’s more of a call to be reasonable.
“These are people from all walks of life who are speaking out against the plans, not a group of old people or young people complaining about each other. I don’t know a single person who wants that in all the city.”
The Ashfield Independents administration advanced the local plan at its cabinet meeting on Monday, September 20, agreeing to launch the first six-week consultation phase in October.
Residents argue that the green belt area should be preserved for its beauty and historical significance.
Megan McIlenna, 34, an online training designer who lives a stone’s throw from the Whyburn Farm site, said:
“It’s like going down a whole new city, the scale is huge and it’s going to disrupt the area.
“The area is said to be the setting for two of Byron’s poems and there is a WWII bunker near the site which may be disturbed by the construction.
“I think the area they are planning to build in is very beautiful and is used very well and it is one of the last green spaces in Hucknall
“I think there’s a chance we can stop this just because of the huge backlash from the people of Hucknall, it’s incredibly controversial.
“It would be devastating if it went ahead, it’s a place where people go to spend time in nature and people have fond memories of the Green Belt.
Councilor Matthew Relf (Ash Ind), Regeneration and Planning Portfolio Holder, said: “The first thing to say is that we are not completely happy with this local plan either, because in the end of account, the government for how many houses we have to allocate.
“We had to develop this plan within the limits of what was imposed on us, but I think the plan has done a tremendous amount to minimize the negative effects and maximize the positive impacts.
“The comments on the infrastructure are quite understandable, but the aim of proposing two new locations is that they have their own schools and health facilities and tram extensions.
“By having this concentration of development, it allows us to deploy all this additional infrastructure.
“Let’s be clear too, the issues Hucknall faces are the same as those faced by the region in general when it comes to health care and access to schools.”
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