Developer appealing Mansfield Council’s refusal of 204-home plans at ‘little gem’ nature reserve

A housing plan for part of the Quarry Lane site in Mansfield was rejected by Councillors.
By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

A developer is appealing Mansfield District Council’s decision to refuse its plans for more than 200 homes near a nature reserve dubbed the town’s “little gem”.

The authority’s planning committee went against officer recommendations to refuse the plans, at Gregory Quarry, near Quarry Lane, when councillors met in July last year.

The development proposed 204 homes on the site but was deemed to negatively impact designated wildlife and offered an “inability to protect” the nature reserve.

The area is not allocated as part of the authority’s local plan – a document setting out where the council prefers to see homes built.

Concerns were also raised by Nottinghamshire County Council over the access proposals, with the council viewing that developers had “grossly underestimated” the costs of providing suitable access to the homes.

The main entry point for the development would have been from Quarry Lane, allowing vehicles to access the houses from the point previously used when it was a stone quarry.

However, July’s meeting heard concerns about roads including Quarry Lane and Sheepbridge Lane becoming a “pinch point”, with the county council saying the developers were offering “unsatisfactory access arrangements”.

The plans were met with almost 400 objections when they were first submitted to the authority.

Residents’ concerns included the development’s potential impact on wildlife, the loss of a nature reserve, loss of recreation and because the houses were not allocated in the council’s local plan.

Councillors then unanimously refused the application and asked to put together a “strong report” to ensure the development does not return in the future.

But now the developer has launched an appeal to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate hoping to get the council’s decision overturned.

Lee O’Connor, the man behind the plans, whose family once owned and operated the working stone quarry, will call on the Government to give the plans the go-ahead.

The appeal means members of the public opposing development can again submit their views, with a deadline of February 15 for submissions.

A four-day inquiry is also due to be held at Mansfield’s Civic Centre, but no date has been set for the event. All evidence into the inquiry is then due by March 29.

Tim Spurry, of the Maun Conservation Group, addressed councillors at July’s planning meeting and said the development would “use and destroy” the nature reserve and ruin a “little gem”.

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