I feel that I must defend myself with regards to Anna Soubry MP’s comments in the Ilkeston Advertiser.
I must make it perfectly clear that since Anna became MP for Broxtowe we have had, and will continue to have, an excellent working relationship. However, we do have a fundamental difference with regards to housing development in Broxtowe.
I have publically stated that my principle is that Broxtowe Borough Council has a duty to supply sufficient homes for our children, who have been brought up an educated in Broxtowe, to remain and purchase homes in the borough if they so wish. Anna has also stated publically that she disagrees with my principles.
With regards to the housing development at Field Farm, I am astounded that Ms Soubry, who is a qualified Barrister, does not understand or is not aware of planning law.
This has nothing to do with any new legislation that may be born out of the Localism Bill. By law, the borough council has a duty to have a rolling five-year land availability policy. Currently, they only have three and a half years and Bude District Council in Cornwall found to their cost that by not meeting this legal requirement they lost a development proposal at appeal.
I would now like to concentrate on the Field Farm proposal. Back in 2001/2002, both myself and members of the action group STRAG spend many months preparing our case to oppose any development on this site, to be presented at a public inquiry.
The inquiry took two days and despite our best efforts we were unable to convince the Planning Inspector; in fact if it was a boxing match, we lost by a knock out! The Inspector’s final report makes it quite clear that this site, in his opinion, was ready for development in the near future and he dismissed every one of our objections.
Taking into account the Inspector’s decision, I have to accept that it is inevitable some development will take place on this site and it is my duty to represent my constituents to the best of my ability.
I will not play ‘Russian Roulette’ and put at risk the possibility that Trowell would lose its village identity forever. Remember, this is a village that has been in existence since 850AD.
I therefore stand by my principle that if this site is ever developed, then I am insisting on, and Broxtowe Borough Council has accepted that, there is a sufficient green boundary left undeveloped and by that I mean from Boundary Brook to Pit Lane. So, it is obvious for all to see that there is a definite green gap between the village of Trowell and the town of Stapleford.
Councillor Ken Rigby
Kimberley and Trowell