Worksop residents set up petition in protest of homes plan on Peaks Hill Farm
Residents in Worksop are protesting against plans to earmark farmland for 1,000 new homes.
The group are angry that Peaks Hill Farm, in Thievesdale, has been proposed as a site for hundreds of potential new homes in the Bassetlaw Local Plan.
They have set up a petition, which stands at just over 750 signatures, to have the plans re-discussed by Bassetlaw District Council.
The group say the new builds will have a ‘significant impact’ on residents because roads, schools and health services will be put under ‘uncontrollable pressure’.
They are also concerned that any housing developments would ‘tear down’ and ‘destroy’ the wildlife that live in the surrounding woodlands, which includes deer, bats, and many species of birds.
One group member said: “It’s frightening that they’re building on rich farmland which has had three crops already this year.
“I think the way the council has gone about the plan has been shocking.
“They have been railroading the general public and there has been a real lack of transparency.
“The public need to know that infrastructure like hospital beds, doctor appointments, school places and road networks will be put under uncontrollable pressure.
“There are no immediate plans to improve these services.”
Another member of the group said: “There are no jobs in Worksop, so many people will move here to live in Worksop and commute to surrounding cities.
“They’re talking about building three roads to improve traffic but it will just make Worksop part of a commuter belt.
“Worksop used to be good, there was lots going for it, but people moving here will want to have meals and drinks and entertainment or jobs and there isn’t that here.”
The first public consultation into the Bassetlaw Local Plan was held in January 2016. It is now in its final consultancy stage.
Despite the pandemic, the plan has had more than 2,000 responses from public consultations over the last five years.
The plan proposes 10,047 new builds in the district between 2020-2037, which includes 1,000 houses in the Thievesdale area, and then an additional 120 after 2037.
Conservative politicians Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith, district councillor Mike Intorna, and county councillor Callum Bailey have questioned the number of houses proposed because Government calculations stated Bassetlaw only needed a minimum of 4,896.
The council has calculated the housing requirement ‘by evidence-based-need’ which is in the Bassetlaw Housing and Economic Development Needs Assessment 2020.
Last year 775 houses were built in the district, almost 270 per cent more than Government’s minimum of 288 houses per annum.
Some residents have expressed concerns over the lack of immediate plans for more infrastructure, but the plan states that the housing development will make financial contributions to both improving health facilities such as GP surgeries as well as improving the capacity of Bassetlaw Hospital
Developers will also be saving land and making a financial contribution for a new secondary school for children which Nottinghamshire County Council has confirmed is needed in the area.
Biodiversity rules mean that any developer must also create 10 per cent more wildlife features on the site, compared to what there currently is.
The vast majority of the woodland at Peaks Hill Farm will be protected and anything that has to be taken down will have to be replaced.
The new proposed Thievesdale site will incorporate cycle lanes to connect new residents to schools and shops all within a 10-15 minute walk and to help encourage less car use.
However, junctions around Worksop such as Farmers Branch will be improved through funding from the development and other roads will be created such as Blyth Road and Carlton Road.
Coun Bailey, county councillor for Worksop North said: “It is disappointing that local councillors, including the leader of the council have not been at the forefront of opposition to the Peaks Hill Farm development.
“My view is that the council need to have a rethink on this housing allocation site, they need to listen, and crucially they need to respond to residents in good faith.
“We need more in person consultations, greater engagement with residents, and we need to think again on Peaks Hill Farm and if it is appropriate for Worksop.”
Coun Simon Greaves, leader of Bassetlaw District Council, said: “This is a government addicted to house building. Its target of 300,000 houses a year has direct consequences and forces more house building onto Bassetlaw.
“The local MP has made no formal objection to the proposals for Peaks Hill Farm, or any other sites in the Local Plan, and fully supports government planning reforms to build, build, build.
“We absolutely understand the concerns of local people.
“Across the district they have told us they would like to see better-paid and higher skilled jobs, good education and healthcare, quality housing, improved roads, safe streets and open space.
“All of this is being planned for as part of the Peaks Hill Farm proposals.
“No one wants to see more housing than dogmatic government rules dictate. Without a local plan, Bassetlaw would face even more building being forced through by developers without the infrastructure that the area needs.
“Local Conservatives don’t back plans for a Garden Village, and fail to back plans to build on brownfield land in Worksop.
"In short they have put forward no alternatives whatsoever and raise no objection the Government’s own planning rules either.
“I hope that everyone will take part in this latest stage of consultation. It’s vital that everyone has their say as part of the Local Plan process."
This final seven-week consultation stage will close on Thursday October 21.