VILLAGERS have breathed a sigh of relief this week, after planning permission was refused for 13 homes in Stanley Common and Stanley.
Residents have been battling Waterloo Housing Group’s plan to build the affordable homes on greenbelt land for months.
After a heated debate at Erewash Borough Council’s planning committee last Wednesday, councillors voted against the planning officers’ recommendations on the grounds that building on the greenbelt could set a precedent for future developments.
Villager Ian Bamford, who lives next to where 11 of the homes would have been sited, off Common Lane in Stanley Common, said he was ‘euphoric’ after the meeting.
“My neighbours were all adamant that it would be passed,” he said.
“But I think what comes over from this is that we have been patient and gone about things through the right channels.”
The meeting heard that only under ‘extenuating circumstances’ can homes be built in land earmarked as greenbelt.
Jessica Thomas, of Waterloo, argued that there was a need to build ‘vital accommodation for people who cannot afford to buy or let a property suitable for their needs’ in the area.
She said that only people with ties to the villages would be allowed to move in.
But Stanley councillor Linda McGraw warned that there were no safeguards in place to stop tenants buying the properties after five years and selling them on.
Cllr Howard Griffiths said the move would open the door for affordable housing developers to build ‘irrespective of the fact that it is in greenbelt’.
“They could use the same loophole once this precedent has been set,” he said.
“I say no. I don’t think it’s right, I don’t think it’s necessary.”
However Cllr Vera Tumanov said: “In my opinion you can’t really call that piece of land greenbelt – it’s a piece of land in between two houses.”
Councillors voted nine to four in favour of refusal.
After the meeting, Ms Thomas said: “We are in the process of awaiting official confirmation of the refusals, and will at that stage decide on whether we would wish to make an appeal.”