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Mansfield District Council, in west Nottinghamshire, is considering a planning application from Hallam Land Management, Sheffield to start the industrial development at Penniment Farm, a 70 acre traditional arable farm on the western edge of Mansfield. The application was submitted after the the local Structure Plan was adopted in 1998, when the site was designated for 'exceptional employment use'. The farm is on a network of minor roads linking areas to the north and west of Mansfield, and is an area well used by local people for recreation. It is considered to have exceptional views over to Hardwick Park, Derbyshire and beyond, presenting a view of Mansfield's ancient agricultural landscape. The farm is on exceptionally good agricultural land.

The site has been highlighted by EMDA, the East Midlands Development agency, as a site for a business park or heavy industry, such as manufacturing or a chemical plant - EMDA have already described the site as 'son of Toyota' or a development on a par with the Toyota factory at Burnaston. It is known that Penniment Farm is one of two greenfield sites in the former coalfields chosen by EMDA for rapid development in order to attract economic regeneration.


Local residents are waking up to the possibility of this massive development on their doorstop and an action group has been formed with help from West Notts FOE - known as RAPID or Residents Against Penniment Industrial Development. What is clear is that local people do not feel involved in the planning process nor that they have been adequately consulted by the council, stressing that existing employment sites are significantly under-occupied.

RAPID argues that there other brownfield sites in the vicinity which could be used instead - the nearest being half a mile away, with an existing rail-link. There are other former colliery sites close by, including Shirebrook and Meden Vale. It appears that in the coalfield area, planning rules are being bent to allow greenfield development. Current planning guidance stresses the need to develop brownfield in preference to greenfield sites, and those with existing transport links. The Penniment Farm site does not currently have appropriate transport links but is on the route of the proposed ring-road, (otherwise known as the Mansfield and Ashfield Regeneration Route, Sherwood Technology Corridor or the M1-A1 link - the choice is yours!), another bone of contention for locals who are unhappy about transport links being opened up from east to west, when the majority of traffic is north to south.

Two ecological reports have now been submitted by the applicants, and the significance of the site as a wintering ground for lapwing and golden plover has been identified.

A protest march was held around the site on Saturday 14th October. To date there have been several public meetings, all well attended.

West Notts FOE would be interested to know if anyone has experience of dealing with EMDA, who have accepted an invitation to meet RAPID and explain their case. Contact Mary Button on 01623 421156 or Tony Barton on 01623 810396.

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