EREWASH Borough Council is due to ask residents what they think of a plan to build more than 6,000 houses in the area over the next 17 years.
Last year the new Government scrapped housing targets set by the last administration in 2008, which would have seen much higher numbers built in the borough.
Council officers have now said they can find enough space in the borough to build roughly 366 houses a year until 2028 making a total of 6,214 but they are urging people to have their say on the proposals.
While leader of the council Cllr Chris Corbett has said that he thinks the new figure is ‘reasonable’, Labour leader Cllr Howard Griffiths has said the figure is ‘completely off the register’.
Similarly Erewash countryside campaigners Green Squeeze fear 6,000 houses would be a threat to greenbelt.
As the Advertiser went to press, lead Conservative councillors were expected to vote to put the issue to the people of Erewash in an in-depth eight-week consultation exercise.
Cllr Corbett said: “I live on an estate in Long Eaton of about 100 houses. So when you think about it, 350 houses a year is actually not that big a figure. It seems a reasonable number. We have probably built that many over the last few years anyway.”
He added: “That’s the figure the people who know about these things at the council have come up with.
“Now we have got to consult with the people of the borough to help us with the decision.
“At the end of the day, we will do whatever is best for Erewash.”
He said that he expects the former Stanton Ironworks site to take the brunt of the housing with roughly 100 houses a year built for the next 20 years.
But Green Squeeze chairman Paul Harvey disagreed. He said: “I don’t think all of Erewash’s housing requirements should fall on Stanton.
“We think less housing, more employment and leisure uses are what is required for that site.”
And he blasted the council for ‘banding’ figures around.
“It’s going to do no one any good to pluck numbers out of the air,” he said. “I would like to see the raw data on which this figure has been based.”
Cllr Griffiths added: “I have always been concerned about the number of houses suggested for the Erewash area and I will be looking at the evidence very closely they will be putting forward to justify these figures.
“I’m not too happy about the overall figure and I’m not too happy about the part Stanton will have to play. It should be jobs, jobs, jobs for that site.”
“I encourage members of the public to make representations as soon as consultation starts and I am hoping they will agree with me.”
The new figures are to fit in with the ‘Nottingham Core Housing Market Area’, which includes other boroughs including Broxtowe, Rushcliffe and Erewash.
He said he fears such a high housing target could see Erewash become a dormitory town for workers in Nottingham, Derby and further afield and that Erewash should follow Rushcliffe Borough Council’s example make its own targets.
The consultation is due to start this summer and the results will be passed to the planning inspector next Spring.
What do you think? Is there space for 6,000 houses in Erewash? Do we need to provide homes for a growing population? Let us know at email@example.com, or write to 8 Heanor Road, Ilkeston, DE7 8ER.