May 19 2012View this email in your browserNews Up Date
from Anna Soubry MP
I am going to begin with a bit of an apology - this is a long and rather wordy email.
I will be doing my usual email newsletter in the next few weeks, which will include events throughout the constituency to mark the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.
Broxtowe Borough Council votes for housing target of 6,150
As you may have heard on various news programmes Broxtowe Borough Council met on Wednesday evening to debate and vote on a document called the “Greater Nottingham Aligned Core Strategies” it is a long document which you can read by clicking here.
It's a pdf so you will need Adobe to read it.
I left Parliament to attend Wednesday's debate, though had to leave at around 9pm to return!
Broxtowe Borough Councillor voted for the document and in so doing voted to accept a housing target of 6,150 houses. All the Conservative Councillors and one Lib Dem Councillor voted against the document, which also specifically identified Field Farm as a “Sustainable Urban Extension” and in so doing made opposition to the planning application on this part of our Green Belt, almost impossible.
None of Stapleford’s Councillors, who are either Labour or Lib Dem, spoke against development on Field Farm, indeed some spoke in favour.
The only voices raised in defence of Field Farm were Conservative Councillors.
Members of STRAG (Stapleford and Trowell Rural Action Group) attended the meeting; it is fair to say that many people who attended the meeting from Stapleford were cross and upset that their own Councillors had failed to represent them (I think it is also fair to say that some STRAG members were in a state of shock that the only Councillors representing the people of Stapleford were Tories!). Please scroll down for details of how to get involved with STRAG they really do now need all the support they can get.
The document identifies Green Belt land at Awsworth, Kimberley, Watnall and Nuthall which will be developed in about six years time.
The document does not say how many houses can be built on brownfield land in Broxtowe. Councillors now claim over 3,000 of the 6,150 target can and indeed will be built on brownfield sites (though equally one Labour Councillor said brownfield development would take a long time so we had to build on Green Built in the meantime).
If we accept that there is brownfield land for 3,000 plus homes that still leaves another 3,000 or so to be built on Green Built land.
After the meeting the Chair of the Committee Cllr David Watts (Lib Dem) tweeted
"Plans approved. Nearly all will be in brown field but will be small incursion into green belt to ensure enough homes"
I strongly suspect that you may share my view that “half and half” is a rather more accurate assessment – if only what he tweeted was indeed the case.
I should add the Conservatives proposed an amendment which
1. Rejected the target of 6,150
2. Gave a commitment to protecting all Green Belt land in Broxtowe
3. "Tasked" the Council’s planners to work on producing a Core Strategy that takes into account the opinion of local people and the availability of non-Green Belt Land to produce a lower figure than 6,150.
All Labour and Lib Dem Councillors voted against this motion save for Cllr. Steve Carr (Lib Dem) who abstained.
Where are the houses going?
According to the nattily named “Greater Nottingham Aligned Core Strategy” Field Farm at Stapleford will provide 450 homes (in some parts of the document the figure is missing) and 550 at the Boots site in Beeston (brownfield land). These houses are planned to be built in the next five years.
(You can find the details and maps in Appendix B from Page 131 onwards)
Awsworth, Eastwood, Kimberley and Brinsley have been designated “Key Settlements” with 350 houses at Awsworth and 200 at Brinsley on Green Belt land. The sites have been identified.
1,400 homes are planned for “Eastwood” – which includes the town and all of Giltbrook, Newthorpe, Greasley and Moorgreen. It looks like there will be widespread infilling with a mix of brownfield and Green Belt land being lost.
“Kimberley” (the Council have included Nuthall and Watnall) will get 600 new houses, again it looks like a huge amount of infilling, using brownfield and losing Green Belt land.
The Borough Council is now working on a “site specific plan” for all these areas and presumably for the remaining three thousand houses on land not identified in the document.
What happens next?
The document states that there will now be a period of public consultation from June 11 until July 23rd. On the basis all the Councils who are part of "Greater Nottingham" (Rushcliffe have withdrawn chosing to set their own housing target) agree, then the document goes to the Secretary of State.
In relation to Field Farm I am urging people to write as soon as possible to Broxtowe Borough Council, Foster Avenue, Beeston NG9 1AB marking their submission “Core Strategy Consultation”. I will ask the Chief Executive to make sure any letters are properly considered as part of the full consultation. (scroll down for details of how to join the campaign to Save Field Farm)
Cllr. Richard Jackson who is the leader of the Conservative Opposition on the Council has undertaken to ask Broxtowe that the public consultation is just that and I will provide more details as they emerge and before June 11th.
Is the Green Belt land north of Toton “safe” from development?
I very much hope the threat to Toton has now been lifted. However, there are a number of concerns including the following paragraph in the “Core Strategy” .
3.2.20 The majority of Broxtowe’s housing provision is to be provided within or
adjoining the main built up area of Greater Nottingham. This is fully in accordance with the strategy of urban concentration with regeneration and will focus housing delivery in or adjacent to the main built up areas in the south of Broxtowe.
My other concern, which is shared by the areas Borough and County Councillors is that Broxtowe’s controlling group have made the land “vulnerable” to appeal, because they originally made the land, along with Field Farm, a “preferred site”.
It was only after local Conservative Councillors and I held a public meeting and organised press events that those very same Labour and Lib Dem Councillors changed their minds and took Toton off the list. It was a pleasure to work with community groups like TEPS and I am sad their leader has fallen back on his party political allegiance and has criticised Toton’s Councillors for not voting for the document! Toton’s Councillors have consistently defended the Green Belt in Toton and will continue to do so.
Finally there is this. In my last email newsletter I referred to parts of the document recently debated by the Cabinet at Broxtowe which in my view, and the view of others, continues to advance the merits of development at Toton. My fear is that come the tram – the developers will be back. Others think an application will be made and then a successful appeal. Let’s hope we are wrong.
Field Farm – how to help STRAG/Stapleford Community Group
Please use any of the following to get involved with the campaign to save Field Farm.
Call or text Richard on 07740344427
Thank you to everyone who attended the meeting on Wednesday and for all your emails and words of support. In the last week a few Labour and Lib Dem Councillors have accused me of “lying” and talking "rubbish" and have told me I have “no right” to comment on their plans for our Green Belt. I don’t agree with one constituent who said I was being “bullied” but I have found the personal attacks pretty unpleasant! I will carry on defending our Green Belt from development.