BURTON’S MP has called for progress to be made on a controversial development plan which would let residents in Rolleston shape the future of their village
Residents are being kept in limbo after developing their neighbourhood development plan, as it disagrees with the East Staffordshire Borough Council’s Local Plan on one fundamental development, which is currently under consideration by a Government minister.
The authority has said it will wait until that decision before progressing, but MP Andrew Griffiths has insisted work is done now to move it forwards.
He told the Mail: “The borough council is dragging its feet. I would accuse them of deliberately trying to prevent people in Rolleston from having their say on choosing the development that suits them.
“The whole thrust of the localism bill was to give people in communities a say on development.
“This flies in the face of people’s democratic right. It should progress as quickly as possible.”
Rolleston was a frontrunner in putting together its neighbourhood plan, and work has been underway for almost three years.
The plan explicitly states that residents were against development on the fields of the former Forest of Needwood School, but as the site is in the council’s local plan, the borough is keen for a planned housing scheme to go ahead there.
The 100-home proposals, by Burton and South Derbyshire College, were refused by planners last year, but the college appealed and the case has now been passed to Secretary of State for Communities Eric Pickles. A decision is due to be published next month.
If Mr Pickles decides in favour of the college, the village’s plan will be have to be abandoned.
Parish councillor Shaun Adams, who is on the neighbourhood plan steering group, said it was ‘a frustrating situation’.
“The majority of people who responded to the plan didn’t want that development included.
“We’re at a bit of an impasse. We have written to the council saying they must not wait and should call the referendum, but they are not pushing it forwards,” he added.
The plan was inspected last year, and has been ready to be sent for referendum for some time. If the people agree with its contents, it should be adopted.
A spokesman for the borough council, which has to call the referendum, said there was a ‘fundamental conflict’ between the two plans, and it was impossible to progress.
He added: “Until a decision on the (College Fields)application is received, it is unclear how to move forward with taking a decision on the neighbourhood plan.”