Residents vow to fight housing plans

Residents angry at plans to build in the Bleak Hills area of the town
Residents angry at plans to build in the Bleak Hills area of the town

Residents have said they will fight to halt plans to build 39 houses on a picturesque paddock behind their own homes.

Those living on High Oakham Hill have launched their own campaign to prevent the development being given the go-ahead, having dropped leaflets to neighbouring properties and pinned home-made banners around the area.

Helen Lubczynskyj, who has lived on the street for more than 23 years, said: “We’d been warned it was happening a few months ago because there was some Section 106 money being talked about.

“It’s not just those people whose houses back on to this, it’s those who use that area for walking or taking their dogs out.

“It’s a beautiful pasture that runs down to a fishing pond.

“We’ve made everyone aware in the local vicinity because not everyone knew - a little A4 sheet pinned to a lamp post telling people about the plans is not good enough.

“The feeling is very strong, we’re very upset by the whole prospect, and it’s about trying to preserve the few green spaces we have left.

“We know that houses are needed but it’s about putting them in the right places.

“I would love this to be turned down but we are fighting a big machine.

“All we can do as residents is raise our concerns.”

Mrs Lubczynskyj says the issue not simply a NIMBY protest - a ‘not in my back yard’ attitude, but is based on wildlife issues, access concerns and general planning queries.

This includes the fact the land, which is on the corner of High Oakham Hill and Bleak Hills Lane, has not been included in Mansfield District Council’s recently-proposed local plan which sets out the potential land available to develop in the next 17 years.

The Chad recently reported how the applicants, Carl Chadwick and John Plant, had labelled the council’s housing policies as ‘out-of-date’, and hinted that if their High Oakham Hill plans were turned down by local planners, it was possible to have the decision overturned on appeal.

They pointed to two previous applications which were overturned, including the plans for 130 homes on Park Hall Farm in Mansfield Woodhouse.

“It worries us that they said this,” added Mrs Lubczynskyj.

“The local plan is really well thought out, it sets out clearly what the plans are - they want to develop brown field sites that are an eyesore and it really focuses on that.

“High Oakham Hill has not been included in this.”

The residents’ fight has also been given the backing of ward councillor, Stephen Garner.

He said he know at least 70 people who have contacted the council with their concerns.

He said: “I’m passionate about this, we just don’t need it.

“There are a lot of brown field sites that could be developed, old garages and scrubland.

“This is a green field site and is not in the local plan, therefore the council thinks we do not need that bit.”

The sloping land, which is more than 2.25 hectares in size, was previously used as a paddock to graze horses.

If given the go-ahead, there is no indication yet as to how many bedrooms each of the homes could have but the applicants have said it will be mainly two-storey homes with a few three-storey properties.

Almost 20 per cent would be classed as affordable, and vehicular access is planned onto High Oakham Hill from the south-eastern edge of the site.