Residents rally to protect greenbelt

Coun. Robert Sears-Piccavey, right is joined by residents and Coun. Gail Turner outside the traveller's camp which has submitted plans for development.
Coun. Robert Sears-Piccavey, right is joined by residents and Coun. Gail Turner outside the traveller's camp which has submitted plans for development.

Around 200 Underwood residents attended a public meeting to discuss fears about two planning applications for developments on the greenbelt.

Sunday night’s meeting was organised by Ashfield district councillor Robert Sears-Piccavey after the recently-submitted applications came to light and sparked concerns.

One of the proposals is for the construction of an agricultural dwelling at Felley Alpacas on Felley Mill Lane South .

The other is for the change of use of land to a private residential caravan site for an extended traveller family, including a mobile home, touring caravan and amenity block, the laying of hardstanding, boundary fencing and a new access at Travellers Rest, also on Felley Mill Lane South.

Coun Sears-Piccavey said that even small developments on greenbelt land pose a ‘real threat’, as if approved, they could lead the way to plans for larger developments being put forward.

“If they can get one bungalow on, then that will be the narrow end of the wedge.

“It’s a beautiful area. It’s been used for walking dogs down Felley Lane for years. People are afraid they are going to lose it,” he said.

Coun Sears-Piccavey added that similar applications at both locations have been submitted in the past.

The travellers site was previously rejected by the Secretary of State, while there is a temporary dwelling on the alpaca farm after planning appeals were won by the applicant and permission to erect this given.

Residents are preparing to fight these new applications by writing letters of objection to Ashfield District Council.

Gail Turner, Nottinghamshire County councillor for the area, said she also considers the developments as ‘inappropriate’ for the greenbelt.

John Church, planning consultant for David Swain, of Felley Alpacas, said that they don’t think a dwelling for agricultural workers would be regarded as inappropriate.

He added that he did not believe the application would set a precedent for development on the greenbelt as cases are considered on their own merit.

The agent for the Travellers Rest application did not want to make a comment.