Monday, 13 December 2010

An open letter regarding Green Wedge Development from Labour Group Leader, Cllr. John Legrys

The text below is an open letter issued by NWLDC Labour Group Leader, Councillor John Legrys:

Whitwick/Thringstone Green Wedge
The housing developer William Davis with landowner Perks have submitted a Planning Application for approximately 1,500 new homes on Green Wedge land between Hall Lane Whitwick and the A511 Stephenson Way. This suggested new community is known as Stephenson Green.
Back in the 1990’s the NWLDC Labour Administration earmarked land between Whitwick/Thringstone, Swannington and Coalville as ‘Green Wedge’ to ensure that there was a ‘green lung’ within the urban area and to keep the communities with clear sustainable identities. The then Government accepted the principle of the ‘Green Wedge’ as part of the Local Plan regulations – and these regulations continue in force today.
In 2007 the NWLDC Conservative administration reversed years of community protection under Labour and drafted plans that identified the urban Green Wedge as suitable land for housing development. Following strong vocal objection to the idea that the Green Wedge should be built on the NWLDC Administration ‘U Turned’ on the draft plans and withdrew support from the idea.
The Tories’ retreat has left a breach in the community’s defences. Their aimless draft plans are on the records, a statement in writing that developers will be able to use as ammunition in any appeals against planning refusals.
They now hope the new Government will send them a long ladder to get them out of the political pit they have dug for themselves. This long ladder is the ‘Localism Bill’ – which starts the Parliamentary process on Monday 13th December.
 Waiting for the protection of the ‘Localism Bill’ is not an option as it will take at least 18 months to process through Parliament. Developers will want the appeal process out of the way before the new Act comes into force.
I am angry that the Administration did not consult the community before drafting plans. Not only have these draft plans gifted the developers they have antagonised communities.
We accept that we need more homes in the Coalville area, but communities need to be engaged in how we plan for our children and families’ needs before putting pen to paper.
Planning Law will prevent my Labour colleagues, Derek Howe and Dave Everritt who sit on the Planning Committee, from voicing an opinion, but I along with Ray Woodward and Felix Fenning will be opposing this and any other application to build on the Green Wedge”.

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