South Wingfield lies about 2 miles west of Alfreton in Amber Valley. It is a village of over 1500 inhabitants with a good primary school, a doctor’s surgery, shops, and community facilities.
Amber Valley is under great pressure to find housing land to meet its own housing needs and some of Derby’s housing, as part of an agreement with the City of Derby and South Derbyshire Councils. All parts of the Borough have to take some housing and South Wingfield as a sustainable settlement with a school short of pupils, was identified by Amber Valley as having the capacity to take a small number of additional homes.
The site, at the north end of the village was identified by the Council. The land was included in the Draft Local Plan as a housing allocation 2 years ago. The site was subject to two rounds of public consultation and was discussed at the Local Plan Examination hearings in June 2018. At the hearing there were no objections from the Parish Council and no objections from local residents. The site was not considered to be controversial.
However when the outline planning application was submitted for 35 homes there was an immediate outcry, villagers strongly objected and the Parish Council sought to resist the proposals. There were no objections from highways or other statutory consultees and the planning authority duly recommended approval.
The planning committee meeting was highly charged. We spoke in favour of the application and it was approved on the casting vote of the chairman.
In May 2019 however the council decided to ditch its emerging local plan. This changed the planning policy environment and led to the council announcing a 5 year housing land supply and the recall of this application back to planning committee for a further decision. The council was able to do this because the Section 106 Agreement had not been signed by that point and the Decision Notice had not been issued.
The application was again recommended for approval. The planning meeting was again highly charged and following 6 objectors speeches we spoke in favour of the application. The application was approved by a healthy margin.
The Council’s decision making process took 10 months on a 13 week planning application. The Section 106 is due to be signed and the Decision Notice should be issued very soon. It shows that a planning approval is never in the bag until the Decision Notice is issued.
Jonathan Jenkin, Managing Director, Planning & Design