Stapleford greenbelt campaigners will fight on
CAMPAIGNERS will fight on to save greenbelt land despite the Government rubber stamping a controversial project for hundreds of homes.
Planning minister Brandon Lewis has now given the final go-ahead to build 450 homes at Field Farm in Stapleford.
The Stapleford & Trowell Rural Action Group (STRAG) has been fighting the plans on the site off Ilkeston Road for more than three years and members have been left saddened by the announcement.
Chairman Zoe Cockcroft said: “We are very disappointed with the decision.
“We are going to hold a meeting to see what our next step is going to be.
“One thing is certain and that is that we are not giving up and we will do all we can to save Field Farm.
“We still have a few options which we are discussing at the minute and we will let people know what we decide.
“We are being very philosophical and to have got this issue as far as we have has to be seen as a success.”
Developers Westerman first applied for permission to build 450 homes at Field Farm in November 2011.
The project was adopted by Broxtowe Borough Council as part of a strategy to provide enough homes for future demand. Other plans in the strategy include building a minimum of 500 homes if the proposed HS2 railway station at Toton Sidings goes ahead.
Broxtowe MP Anna Soubry said: “Now all that is left is for the campaigners is to look to the courts and I hope that they have success.
“I am extremely disappointed that Brandon Lewis has had to take this decision and it is because Broxtowe Borough Council would not wait.
“It is so wrong because we are now having brown field sites coming forward and they should have waited to see if enough came through instead of building on Field Farm.
“We do not know if HS2 is coming or going over the border (to be built in Derbyshire).
“I have no idea what they will do with the minimum of 500 homes planned at Toton if HS2 does not come forward.”
Broxtowe Borough Council leader Milan Radulovic said the decision over Field Farm helps protect the rest of the area’s greenbelt
He said: “I believe that the right decision has been made.
“We want to control the development of our future and having a plan allows us to do that.”
“We have 1,400 homes on a number of brownfield sites but these sites are not easy to develop but we are working hard to use them where possible.
“It has been extremely difficult trying to get the balance between providing homes and protecting our green belt.
“This strategy allows us to protect 98 per cent of the green belt for the next 20 years.
He added: “If HS2 does not come to Toton we will have to look for those 500 homes elsewhere and for us that would be a disaster.
“If we lose HS2 we will have to defend against further encroachment on the greenbelt but I don’t believe the project is lost. I am optimistic for the future.”
No one at Westerman was available for comment.