Legal action over plans for 24 homes

Westby Lane awsworth residents campaigning about waste recycling plant.
Westby Lane awsworth residents campaigning about waste recycling plant.

RESIDENTS in Nuthall are seeking legal action after a planning application to build 24 houses was given the go-ahead this week.

People who live in Edward Road claim the site is inhabited by an endangered species of newt and the wildlife should not have been disturbed.

But the head of planning at Broxtowe Borough Council, Steve Dance, said wildlife surveys had been carried out – with Natural England currently undertaking a revised survey to ensure the newts are fully protected.

Resident Simon Wright argued that the wildlife surveys were not carried out for long enough and the planning officers had a ‘disregard’ for the newts.

“It’s awful what’s happened,” he said. “It seems they just wanted to rush the application through. I wanted to at least see it deferred until a prolonged wildlife survey had been conducted.”

Mr Wright, who called the planning meeting a ‘farce’, is now going to the European Parliament over concerns about the length of the wildlife survey that was carried out and the site’s proximity to where the newts live.

The Great Crested Newts live and breed in residents’ ponds around the site, and Mr Wright said it was wrong for a development to go ahead just metres away from where they live in dense grass.

Mr Wright, 39, has contacted Broxtowe MP Anna Soubry as part of his protest to get the development stopped.

But Mr Dance said: “All the right things have been done in respect of protecting and looking after the newts and Natural England has accepted that the wildlife survey is absolutely fine.”

Outline planning permission was accepted on the site five years ago, but the land was not sold.

An application for full planning permission was then submitted earlier this year.

As part of the scheme a ‘newt mitigation’ area will be laid out at the rear of the site which will include a ten metres square pond to safeguard the newts.

Cllr Jill Owen, who sits on the development control committee, was also against the plans and said on Wednesday evening, before the planning committee gave the green light, that she wanted the council to ‘do the right thing and make sure the wildlife survey was done’.

Nuthall Parish Council was also amongst the objectors.