An opinion piece by Cllr David Hancock
Several times over the last few weeks Lee Rowley’s name has been mentioned in conversation in regard to the proposed development off Ankerbold Road, Tupton. I wouldn’t presume to know or speculate on Lee’s personal opinion; however, the Conservative government don’t offer a sensible solution to controlled house building. Quite the opposite in fact.
Labour’s proposals concern me. Despite what they claim, their proposed local plan for N-E Derbyshire isn’t sustainable. Firstly there aren’t the jobs in the district. If you want to build more houses, you need to create the job opportunities FIRST.
Then you need to ensure that infrastructure is in place. Our roads and drainage systems date back the best part of a century (some of them even further). They simply cannot cope with increased building on the scale proposed by the Labour Council.
On top of that, our schools and GP services are already at capacity. Neither have the ability to cope without considerable investment – not just throwing “hush money” at them. We need extra capacity creating. Again this needs to be done upfront.
All of this investment would actually create some of the jobs that would make house building sustainable. The problem is that Labour have continued to live beyond all our means and need to plug the black hole in their overspending by increasing council tax revenues and collecting additional cash from the new homes bonus; while the Tories are seeking to control market values.
I have one additional concern in regard to the local plan. It is supposed to ensure the integrity of settlement boundaries. Meaning that we don’t end up like parts of Nottingham, where you simply turn onto the next street and you’re in a different “village”. Already Tupton connects directly onto Wingerworth; and there’s increasing development. The building on Hagg Hill links us ever closer to Grassmoor; while the Biwater site will pretty much plug the gap between Tupton and Clay Cross.
Despite accusations from political opponents, I’m not a NIMBY. I care both about the community I serve and the prospective newcomers to NE Derbyshire. All major building projects have to work for everyone. What is on the table right now doesn’t, and will simply cause problems down the line.
The residents (current and future) of North East Derbyshire and Bolsover deserve proper sustainable plans – not the jigsaw approach of the Labour Council or Conservative government to fill every empty space.
N-E Derbyshire District Council’s local plan has again been put out for consultation. North Derbyshire Liberal Democrats are currently putting together our response as part of that process. We want to hear your thoughts and opinions to ensure that they are included in our response.