United by proposals

MORE than 150 people turned out to Greasley Parish Council’s annual meeting to voice their concerns about proposed housing developments and suggest forming an action group to fight the plans.

Parish residents turned out in force to quiz councillors about greenbelt sites which have been earmarked for development and said they all needed to unite as one voice.

One resident said: “We need to get together and be one big voice, and I think as a community we are willing to do that.”

Giltbrook resident Neil Hutchinson also addressed the council.

“You have got to fight and if you have got all these people behind you it can be done,” he said.

“The land that they’ve chosen in Giltbrook is the only greenbelt land that is left. I moved to Giltbrook in 1962 and it’s been a building site since.

“The parish council has got to lead this to make sure that we say to Broxtowe it’s a no go. We are not having it in this area. We have been inundated.”

Council chairman Cllr Christine Bird said: “Communication is key. Let’s work up a proper campaign so we can feed the information down to every member of the community.”

And Cllr Mick Brown added: “Over the next few months they will send out a proper final consultation and we have got to be alert. That’s the one we have got to jump on. What we need is people power and we have all got to play a part.”

Last week Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced plans to slash red tape from the planning system in a bid to boost the house building industry.

By the end of the year, the Government will have completely overhauled national planning policy, making it easier to get big developments through local planning systems.

But councillors reassured the public in Monday night’s meeting that despite the changes, greenbelt land was still protected and it was very difficult for developers to get permission to build on it.

Cllr Bob Wilmott said: “It has got to go through an all-singing, all-dancing public inquiry and the people who push it have got to have very deep pockets using fancy lawyers. It can’t be done willy-nilly.”

And speaking to the Advertiser this week, head of planning at Broxtowe Borough Council, Steve Dance, urged residents not to panic about the high figures.

He said this was the start of a long process which will probably see ‘nothing like’ the figures being put forward now actually being built in the borough.

“Not even for a minute are we suggesting that all these houses will be built,” explained Mr Dance.

“But this is part of a long process which is open to the public at all stages.”

He said the next stage is to look at small brownfield sites in urban areas for housing.

But Broxtowe MP Anna Soubry this week blasted the council for not listening to residents and the Government.

She said: “They continue to draft a plan that would see thousands of houses being built on our greenbelt land when they have failed to demonstrate the need and in defiance of public opinion and Government policy.”

She urged the controlling Labour and Lib Dem group at Broxtowe to ‘rip up’ the plan and start again.

For a full list of possible sites visit www.broxtowe.gov.uk.