In 2018, the Ashfield Independents threw out the draft Local Plan. The Ashfield Independent Council Leader insisted this was done so that they could "focus more on brown belt development", and that they would deliver an innovative and imaginative local plan that shares houses out equally in the District, and would protect green spaces.
Well here we are 3 years later, and by the Councils own admission:
"there are insufficient brownfield sites within the existing main urban areas and built-up areas that are deliverable...to accommodate the required levels of growth over the plan period."
Great work Ashfield Independents. They have spent seemingly every election saying that only they can 'save' or 'protect' our Green Belt land and open green spaces. This was clearly all electioneering. Their own Local Plan states:
"Some of this new development requires the release of land from the Green Belt".
You can't make it up! They have said one thing, and done the complete opposite.
The 2018 Plan put provisions in for 480 houses to be built per year for the next 15 years. The Ashfield Independent Local Plan puts provisions in for 457 per year.
Another great result from the Ashfield Independents!
We have waited 3 years for a plan that provides less housing, and places more of it on our Green Belt. This is a disgrace, and an insult to all Ashfield residents.
The Ashfield Independents (as is always the case) rather than being proactive and looking to solve this issue, will blame the Government. They think it is their 'get out of jail free card' for their negligence. They can try and do this again, but the facts are this. The District Council chooses where houses are built. Not the Government. They could even have written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to challenge the amount of houses required to be built. but they didn't. They could have worked with the local Member of Parliament to facilitate this. But they didn't. The Ashfield Independents have therefore made the decision to carve up our Green Belt land themselves.
How much money has it cost the Council to redo the Local Plan? How much has this Ashfield Independent vanity project cost the people of Ashfield, and how much do we stand to lose in the future?
Places like Skegby are taking the brunt of development in Ashfield Constituency, whereas the Ashfield Independent Council Leader looks set to only see 54 houses built in his ward over the next 5 years. Make of that what you will, I certainly have. The spread of housing in the District should be much fairer. Places like Skegby, Stanton Hill & Abbey Hill should not be used as dumping grounds for new housing just so the Ashfield Independent Council Leader doesn't have to have new homes built near him.
The consultation for the Local Plan has now ended. You may have seen that the Ashfield Independents have stated that they are delaying the next stage of the process:
It is just like I said. They are trying to blame the government for their own disastrous, unpopular and negligent Draft Local Plan. They have seen which way the wind is blowing, and as usual are trying to save face. We deserve so much better than this from our local council.
I will keep you updated on the Local Plan as and when there is news to share.