As leader of Erewash Borough Council I would like to thank the Ilkeston Advertiser for helping make sure that residents had every chance to comment on the draft proposals for making land in Ilkeston available for housing.
It is not yet possible to know how many people have objected, or responded in favour, but every email and letter will be studied thoroughly by the council’s planning department.
I have visited a number of residents who could be affected by either of the two possible sites and I and the other local councillors have been impressed with their very real concern for the environment.
The demand for new homes is rising throughout the country as people live longer in their own homes, the make-up of families change, and with net immigration at around 200,000 every year.
Erewash has to provide its share of these new homes and our share comes out at some 6,000 homes over the next 17 years .
The council has a policy, which I fully support, of protecting our valuable and beautiful Green Belt from housing developments, but this does mean that we have to look at land like the west of Ilkeston and Quarry Hill which are not part of the Green Belt.
I have been told by residents that many of the opposition councillors appear to have already made up their minds even though the results of the consultation are not in and we do not yet know all the facts.
If they are against the two draft proposals, I hope that means that they have identified other land which can be used to provide the new homes that will be needed in the future as the economy and the housing market picks up.
It’s time Labour learnt that it is no good just being anti-everything, electors expect parties with any expectation of power in Erewash, however remote, to come up with positive policies and viable alternatives to meeting our housing needs without building on the Green Belt.
So, come on Labour, what would you do?
Councillor Chris Corbett