Protesters out in force against Ashover housing plan

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Protesters stormed a Derbyshire council’s site visit yesterday in the run up to controversial planning decision.

North East Derbyshire District Council (NEDDC) is to discuss a highly disputed planning application today (June 16) to build 26 new houses in Ashover.

But amid strong opposition from local residents has established a special committee to decide the fate of the plan, which received 429 letters of objection during consultation and only four comments in support.

Ellen Hardwick of Action for Ashover helped the group of livid locals deliver a further 1961 signatures to the council against the plan, but she is worried that councillors will fold under the pressure from developers.

Ms Hardwick said after the protest along Moor Road, near the site which could see a new housing development built by Marsh Green Estates: “We heard there was going to be a site visit and called around the action group and invited people to come along.”

Some elderly residents of the the Grove House care home also joined protesters, added Ellen, as the estate will greatly affect them by taking access from across the road.

She added: “The National Planning Policy Framework has relaxed planning regulations so some policies in the old local plan are outdated and the council is letting themselves be bullied by developers and they’re terrified of appeals.”

Some residents reminded the need of more housing in the village to provide affordable options for young people struggling to stay in their home town.

But Patricia Heath was among the hundreds of people who objected to the plan - she said in consultation: “There are currently over 60 houses for sale within a one mile radius, many of which have been on the market for over one year.

“The proposed site is a designated Special Landscape Area,” she added. “As such proposed housing estate would have a significant and negative impact on the natural beauty of the area.”

County Councillor for the Ashover area, Barry lewis said: “This is a Special Landscape Area, and this proposal will have a considerable impact on the character of the countryside. Any ideas that visual impact will be minor or that this development willform a ‘transition zone between village and countryside is quite frankly absurd.”