Council bows to ‘people pressure’

NILALM111011C1 - Residents of Hedington Close Ilkeston are opposed to houseing plans on land next to their houses
NILALM111011C1 - Residents of Hedington Close Ilkeston are opposed to houseing plans on land next to their houses
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THE SHOCK decision to re-draw the map of future housing in the borough has left campaigners hopeful that the council will leave the two controversial sites in Ilkeston out of its new plan.

But the two action groups formed against plans to build 1,200 homes across two sites in the town are not cracking open the Champagne just yet.

NILABE111012a2, protesting against plans to build 500 homes opsite merlin way industrial estate

NILABE111012a2, protesting against plans to build 500 homes opsite merlin way industrial estate

Announcing the decision to scrap the meeting where proposals would be discussed in two weeks’ time, Cllr Chris Corbett said the council has listened to residents’ ‘clear message’ that the council should look at alternative areas to build on than Manner Floods and Quarry Hill, while vowing to protect the borough’s greenbelt.

But both groups say they are ‘sceptical’ that the council will propose completely new areas of Ilkeston to build on.

Anne Green, who heads the Quarry Hill Action Group, fighting the plan there for 500 houses, said: “It’s positive news but we’re not out of the woods yet.

“It may just be delaying the inevitable – we are under no illusion about that.

“But there is more time for the council to consider all the options now.”

Bev Hendrick from the action group defending Manner Floods, where 700 homes and an area put aside for industrial use was being considered, agreed with Ms Green.

In an open letter to Cllr Corbett, the group made a joint statement that they were cautiously optimistic.

“We remain committed to protecting Manor Floods for the benefit, prosperity and wellbeing of future generations – we will not rest until we have achieved this goal,” it reads.

“Notwithstanding the above, members of the action group and the wider community accept that Erewash is still faced with a significant housing issue which has been exacerbated by the lack of recent development. This will only be further compounded by the predicted population growth over the next 50 years.”

They vowed to help the council face the challenge in coming months and years.

Cllr Corbett said there could be a new document on the table by the summer after planning officers have gone back to the drawing board in a bid to seek out alternative sites for housing.

“We have a responsibility to provide sufficient homes for local people and we are seeking to do this without impacting on the valuable greenbelt that we all enjoy on our doorstep,” he said.

“It is with this in mind that we will leave no stone unturned in seeking appropriate sites to provide much needed homes for the future without damaging the local environment.”

Talking about recent discussions with the action groups he said: “What they wanted more than anything else was a delay and a stop and a think.

“They were worried that things were moving along too quickly.

“We are going to have a good look at all the sites – perhaps there are more that we have not spotted. Let’s hope we can find them.”

He could not rule out that the new document would include plans for Quarry Hill and Manor Floods, adding that the figure of 6,000 houses to be built in Erewash in the next 17 years still stands.

As part of the plan to draw up a new Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA), the council is inviting landowners to put forward their sites for consideration.

The full council meeting scheduled for Thursday January 26 has now been cancelled as the housing land locations were the only agenda item up for discussion.