Call to help shape plans in the villages

Jacksdale War Memorial
Jacksdale War Memorial

Selston area residents are been urged to get involved in making a neighbourhood plan so they can influence planning applications and the future of their area.

The JUS-T (Jacksdale, Underwood, Selston – Tomorrow) project has its own website. and a Facebook page and is seeking the views of locals.

Lisa Simpson, an admin assistant with the group, said: “We are trying to include more residents in producing the neighbourhood plan, to find out what they want to happen in the village in the future.

“Anyone who wants to raise an issue can talk to me about it.

“There is lots of information in the Selston Parish Council office.

“We just want input from people about what they want to see or do not want to see in their area.

To find the Facebook page, search selston plan JUS-T.

The group, which formed in May 2013 meets once a month at Selston Parish Hall.

The neighbourhood plan will be put forward by the parish council, but JUS-T was set up independently so residents feel they can have ownership of it.

She said: “We have had public consultation events and we are trying to get more community engagement and reach more people.

“The major issues affecting the area are housing development, land taken out of the Green Belt for housing and a lack of facilities in terms of schools shops and health services, leisure and transport.

“We feel there is a worry about overcrowding in schools especially in the Underwood area. We have to produce policies with strong evidence.”

The group points out on its website that over the next few years, a minimum of 750 houses will be built in the villages of Selston, Jacksdale and Underwood.

The majority of the houses will be built within what is currently green belt land, as there are only a few brown field sites available.

Neighbourhood Planning allows communities, including residents, employees and business, with the opportunity to come together and say where they think new development (including new homes), should go and what they think future buildings should look like.

The neighbourhood plan, begun following the Localism Act, will run alongside the Ashfield Local Plan, which is under review after it was rejected by Government inspectors.

Ms Simpson added: “At the minute developers can say they want to build here and there is not a lot to stop them.

“The main thing is getting people to realise what an important document it is and what a difference it could make to have it.

“The Ashfield Local plan was for 10 years and they are revising that at the moment.

“If that goes to 15 years that could increase the number of houses being applied for.”

She pointed out a neighbourhood plan in a different parish had recently been used to turn down a planning application by a developer.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has overruled a planning inspector and blocked plans for 111 homes on a green field site in Leicestershire after concluding that the application’s conflict with a neighbourhood plan carried ‘substantial negative weight’.

The group is currently in liaison with planning officers from Ashfield District Council and is taking professional advice on the form the plan will eventually take.

When it is complete there will be a referendum across the parish to either accept or reject it.

The neighbourhood steering group has 13 members and there is a representative for each area on the committee. For Underwood it is Dawn Justice Jacksdale is Bernard Briggs, Selston is represented by Jane Banks.