FRIENDS OF FIELD FARMNEWSLETTER No 3 24th April 2013
This newsletter is brought to you by Stapleford and Trowell Rural Action Group.
We have been campaigning for some 13 years against housing development at Field Farm. New members continue to join the group, from Stapleford, Trowell and Bramcote. This reflects the fact that more than 5000 residents in these areas would be affected by the loss of green space and recreational opportunities, and by lengthy building works and a significant increase in traffic. STRAG will continue to be the voice that our councillors cannot avoid.
SUCCESSFUL RALLY AT SHERWIN ISLAND
On Saturday 6th April some 60 members of the community responded to STRAG’s appeal to gather at this already busy roundabout to show concern about the proposed development, ahead of the Broxtowe Borough Council’s Development Control Committee Meeting, scheduled for 10th April to decide on the outline planning application by Westerman Homes. As a result there was a great deal of media coverage. The sun shone down on us and hundreds of motorists hooted their horns in support. We were very encouraged and would like to say a big THANK YOU to all who turned out and supported us.
It is clear that residents have grave misgivings about the Developer’s assurances that the effect on Sherwin roundabout will be ‘NOT TOO SEVERE’.
DISAPPOINTMENT AT COMMITTEE MEETING: OUTLINE PLANNING PERMISSION RECOMMENDED
Unfortunately, on the 10th April the Development Control Committee voted 7 to 5 to allow the development on Field Farm. Votes were along party lines with only Conservative councillors opposing, and proposing to defer the decision until the approval of the Core Strategy by the Council.
This proposal was rejected.
The decision was taken at the end of a very heated debate when members of the public opposed to the plan were verbally bullied, insulted and called ‘NIMBYs’ by members of the committee. The actual technical issues, which we and others had raised at the various consultation stages, were not fully discussed.
Our main reasons to oppose:
– We have checked that potential brownfield sites could be brought forward earlier than stated by the council.
– The Council’s decision is premature, indeed hurried, since the results on a new consultation regarding the Core Strategy are to be available in a few weeks’ time.
– Flaws in the traffic surveys have not been
Stapleford North’s councillor Iris White (Labour) made an unconvincing statement and Brian Wombwell (Lib-Dem), also Stapleford North, who moved to Somerset several months ago, sent his apologies but a substitute for Brian voted for the development. Only Richard Jackson (Cons), Joan Briggs (Cons) and Margaret Handley (Cons) spoke up in our defence during the debate. Milan Radulovic (Lab), Charles Robb (Lab) and David Watts (Lib- Dem) tried to distort our arguments, making us appear to favour other greenbelt developments, (which we have never done). We only requested that their respective sustainability be debated in a free and open forum before an independent Inspector, and we suggested that it may be preferable for the least damaging parts of several sites to be developed rather than destroying complete sites.
Considerations of the cost of a potential appeal by the developer played an important part in the decision, but no lawyer advice had been presented by the Council to prove the reality of this threat!
The official minutes do not reflect all that happened at the meeting.
Some were surprised the following day when Broxtowe Lib-Dems managed to have thousands of their Focus newsletters distributed by lunchtime and soon after their Field Farm Factsheet. This announced the decision to grant outline planning permission taken only the night before.
Do not take comfort that this will be the only bit of our green belt sacrificed. Broxtowe intends to find more green belt to accommodate a further 1,600 + houses. So if the loss of Field Farm does not particularly affect you, they could still be coming your way!
This is not the end, we have now written to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, whom the Council by law had to refer the decision to. We are asking him to ‘call in’ the application for a Public Enquiry.
However, if Mr Pickles does pass this application, rest assured we will make sure we that we are involved with the detailed planning application and remain the voice of local residents.
We continue to work with Ken Mafham Associates and would like to thank them for their invaluable help and advice.
Concerns for the future:
– Traffic infrastructure works must be financed and completed before any building work commences – it is not clear if this currently includes any improvement to the two mini-roundabouts at the junction of Ilkeston Road and Coventry Lane.
– The land east of the old farmhouse and new plantation, which has the highest ecological and agricultural value, must be spared – if not, no defensible boundary will be provided in that direction and the two further fields up to Coventry Lane will be the next to go.
– The housing balance and density also need to be scrutinised. Currently 61% 4 or 5- bedroom houses and less than 18% affordable ones are foreseen!
Keeping everyone aware of our activities incurs costs. If you would like to make a small donation to help with the printing expenses to produce our newsletters, our bank account details are as follows:
Co Operative Bank, Friends of Field Farm, Account No: 65624434
Sort Code: 08-92-99.
If you would rather pay by cheque, simply contact us via our email: email@example.com or post to – Friends of Field Farm, c/o 70 Mayfield Drive, Stapleford, NG9 8JG.
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