Council has ‘thrown lottery ticket in bin’

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Plans for a 50 acre sports village in Nuthall have been refused for the second time.

Director of the project Luke Fillingham said he felt ‘devastated’ and said Broxtowe Borough Council had ‘thrown a £30m lottery in the bin’.

The Oxylane site was planned for greenbelt land off the A610 and would have included a football pitch, netball and tennis courts, a council-run leisure centre.

Mr Fillingham said: “We are devastated. We are talking about a £30m investment – huge opportunitues with hundreds of new jobs, improvements to the roads and an international brand – just the sort of thing that Broxtowe would massively benefit from.

“The council is sat on a winning lottery ticket which would offer opportunities for generations. Are they going to cash it ion or throw it in the bin?

“I’ve spent four years of my life working on this. We feel hugely let down. If the public knew what they were missing out on they would be very upset about it.“

The reason the council gave for rejecting the application was they felt it ‘inappropriate development’ in the greenbelt’

But Mr Fillingham branded this ‘ridiculous’.

“You can’t even access the site and it’s not farmed. It’s just sat there. It’s ridiculous,” he said.

At the Broxtowe Borough Council planning committee meeting, five councillors voted against the plans, and seven against.

Mr Fillingham said he hoped way forward could still be found.

“The second application was an even better scheme, which we thought had even more support.

“We are talking to people, trying to understand what is going on and we will review our options. I only hope a way forward can be found.”

The application was refused first time around earlier this year, also on grounds that it was perceived inappropriate development in the greenbelt.

But before an official notice was received the company withdrew its application, enabling it to be re-submitted.

Oxylane re-submitted the application in September with a £9m council-run leisure centre added into the plans.

This caused some controversy, with people worried it would mean the closure of Eastwood and Kimberley leisure centres.

But a council cabinet report suggested that ceasing to run the old leisure centres and taking on the new facility — with 25m swimming pool, teaching pool, sports hall, fitness suite, aerobics/dance studios, health suite with sauna and spa facilities — would in fact save money overall.

The two current leisure centres are more than 30 years old and are losing money each year, it was claimed.

Chairman of the planning committee Steve Barber said: “A narrow majority of members decided to agree with the professional advice that the social circumstances don’t exist for this development in the greenbelt.
“This decision will now be passed to the Secretary of State. He will look at it with the evidence provided by ourselves, other evidence he collect from elsewhere, and professional opinion from other people.”

If an Oxylane site was built, it would be the first in the UK. It is based on a french model.

Oxylane has the option to appeal if the decision is rejected by the Secretary of State.