By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter
Ashfield District Council has allowed planning consent for its political leader to draw up detailed plans to build four new homes.
The council’s planning committee approved new outline plans submitted by Councillor Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind), the authority’s leader, on Wednesday (March 22).
Cllr Zadrozny, who sits on the committee, submitted the plans as an individual rather than acting as the leader of the council.
He registered an interest in the application, left the chamber during the debate, did not vote and was not present for any of the discussions.
Councillors Samantha Deakin (Ash Ind) and Rachel Madden (Ash Ind) also declared an interest and left with the council leader.
The Ashfield Independents politician aims to build the four homes at 74 Sutton Road, Kirkby.
Documents show he wants to demolish the existing home to facilitate the larger development.
Wednesday’s meeting granted early planning consent and determined housing would be suitable and acceptable on the site.
Matters relating to scale, layout, design, access and landscaping must be considered at a later date during more detailed applications.
Speaking during the meeting, Christine Sarris, a senior planning officer at the council, said: “The council is presently unable to demonstrate a five-year housing land supply.
“As such, the presumption in favour of sustainable development applies unless any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.
“The application site is located within the main urban area of Kirkby, where the principle of development is acceptable.
“The scheme provides an opportunity to improve local ecology via the use of conditions.
“[It can] secure enhancement measures relating to new landscaping, provision of bird nesting boxes, bee bricks and hedgehog-friendly fencing.
“It is therefore recommended this application be granted planning permission.”
The meeting heard 10 letters were submitted to the authority during a consultation, with eight letters objecting to the plans and two in favour.
Concerns included overshadowing, a loss of privacy, noise and disturbance, construction disturbance and boundary issues.
Other objections included “busy and congested” highways, parking issues, devalued properties and fear the plans could set a planning “precedent”.
Letters supporting the scheme included creating “modern family homes in a sustainable area”.
In the meeting, Ms Sarris told the committee: “The council is only considering the principle of residential development as part of this outline planning application, with all matters reserved.
“Therefore the potential impact on neighbours would be subject to consideration and assessment at a later date.”
Four councillors remained in the chamber for the debate and the vote.
No councillor commented during the debate before it was approved with three votes for and one abstention.
Speaking after the decision, Cllr Zadrozny told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “In the objections, legitimate concerns were raised.
“Given this is an outline application, officers have essentially made this decision and no councillors have taken it.
“The only reason this had to come before councillors was that it was [submitted by] me.
“All it’s talking about is whether you could fit four houses on there, and officers think you can.
“Once we come to access or design, it will have to come through a full application and this may, or may not, fit.
“The principle question is, in square footage, can you fit those in? And officers have determined the answer is yes.”
The council leader will now be allowed to draw up detailed proposals for how his plans will look.
These must then be debated again by the planning committee at a later date.