East Leake Parish Council today slammed Rushcliffe Borough Council for its failure to provide the five year housing land supply required by the government.
Rushcliffe has not allocated sites at the urban edge of Nottingham that can be progressed in the required timescale, so policies for supply of housing in their Local Plan are considered “out of date”. East Leake’s Neighbourhood Plan, only adopted 2 years ago, is part of the local plan and so its housing policies are also deemed to be out of date.
The Borough Council initially refused planning permission for 235 houses on a site off Rempstone Road in East Leake, but this decision was overturned at appeal by a Planning Inspector on 20th November and the fields can be dug up so that building work can go ahead.
Much of Rushcliffe is protected by Green Belt legislation, including most of the other larger villages and towns, so while the bulldozers are running riot in East Leake, very little new housing is happening in Keyworth, Radcliffe on Trent, and Ruddington. Cotgrave has some but nothing like as much as East Leake.
The Inspector remarked that Rushcliffe “did not update its housing land supply position for the appeal and there is, therefore, no firm evidence before me of any progress in relation to the housing land supply since the last appeal. Nor is it demonstrated how the trajectory set out in Policy 3 will be achieved over the coming years”. He also criticized a recently published report produced by Rushcliffe which assesses the impact on the landscape of building on various potential sites, finding the evidence supplied by the developer more reliable.
Chairman of the Parish Council, Conrad Oatey, is furious with Rushcliffe’s planning department, saying, “Rushcliffe are hanging East Leake out to dry with their incompetence. The inspector has highlighted several failures to produce adequate evidence for the appeal. Rushcliffe are dithering endlessly about part 2 of their Local Plan, which can only be described as ‘Too Little, Too Late’. Who is being held to account there for all this ineptitude? The effect on our village is devastating.“
The Parish Council believes that Nottinghamshire County Council has also failed East Leake, by not having a plan for primary school places and not preparing data properly for the appeal hearing. The inspector commented that NCC as the Local Education Authority had not formally investigated whether further capacity could be made available to accommodate the Rempstone Road site, and said “under these circumstances, it cannot be said that the schools are unable to accommodate the proposal; there is simply no evidence before me to draw such a conclusion.”
The agreement about primary school places for the site is worded so that money paid by developers could be used to expand schools outside the village, and to pay for transport to take East Leake children to schools elsewhere. Parish Councillors are horrified by this prospect. Carys Thomas, Chair of East Leake’s Planning Committee commented, “How dare they. We are a community, and all our children need to be schooled here with their friends. They need to have the opportunity to walk to school. Infants as young as four could be making long journeys every day. Who is going to buy all these new houses once they find that out? And what about the people who live furthest from the schools or have just moved into the village? Their children could be the ones on the buses. ”