Members of Kimberley Residents Association spoke to a full house of local people at their fourth annual public meeting last week.
Some 80 members attended the meeting at Holy Trinity Church, Eastwood Road to hear counter arguments to council plans, and the residents meeting turned into a party conference as member Shane Easom announced the KRA would be running for the town council in the coming local elections.
Mr Easom said: “On election day you will be able to vote for KRA.”
The group discussed the council’s recent rejection of Kat Boettge’s petition on the Chapel, highlighting that members’ rejected the plan, “because the silent majority should be treated equally to those who signed, so in other words in our democracy, those who don’t vote get the say,” said Darren Warner.
Cllr Jim McDonald said at the last Kimberley Town Council meeting: “There is no issue at all about whether we are taking the petition seriously. We have to take it seriously. The question is what we do about it.”
Consultant Ken Matham, a former planning chief for Nottingham City Council spoke amid his high court challenge of the Nottingham-Broxtowe-Gedling “Core Strategy” housing plans, which proposes 600 new houses in Kimberley.
Mr Matham said: “450 of that can be accommodated in Kimberley on land already found”
“It’s premature to be looking at the Greenbelt at the moment.”
“This review of the Greenbelt not necessary at the present time, it needs to wait because you’ve already got 450 houses land-identified in the brewery and elsewhere. That will last ten years at the rate they’re proposing.”
He added: “600 houses in Kimberley is a lot, and you need to be assured that the money taken from the developers is actually being spent on extending local facilities.
“The local community needs to be involved in deciding what the local needs are.”
“What you need is a permanent campaign which keeps an eye on what is happening.”
The speakers also discussed plans for trams to run through Kimberley.
An attendee said: “I did the tram walk and initially I was in favour because I like the tram anyway and I use it regularly. I also like the route. But then I thought, why do we need it? It only takes four minutes longer to get to Nottingham on the Rainbow One than it does to get there from Phoenix Park.
“What benefit is Kimberley going to get from it? It’s not going to bring people into Kimberley to go shopping.”
Local MP and defence minister Anna Soubry also attended.
She said: “We need to be confident that a half a billion pound project has had any genuine benefit for anybody and we’ve got to be sure it’s good value for money.”
“We’ve got to make sure that if there are public consultations they are proper and genuine, but truthfully I think this is pie in the sky because we’ve found now that trams are a very expensive infrastructures that do not necessarily benefit the very communities they are supposed to serve.
“If you look at Beeston and the real concerns that people have had, I can’t see it coming to Kimberley unless somebody is going to find a magic wand.”
The meeting was intended to put concerns to local councillors – the four town and borough councillors who were invited did not attend.