The document, ‘Rushcliffe Core Strategy Proposed Modifications’ can be downloaded from here. it is long and complicated, but we have identified ten concerns.
- The access to Musters Rd to the north of the site/allocation which was previously restricted to bus and emergency vehicles only is now open to “a limited amount of local traffic” serving an unspecified area of low-level housing. We are very concerned that this will become an entrance to the whole development bringing significant extra traffic to both Musters and Boundary Roads, with attendant impact upon safety for both Rushcliffe and Jesse Gray schools.
- The dedicated bus service, indicated in the previous draft of the Core Strategy and tied to the existing planning 2009 planning approval, has been removed which we feel can only increase car dependency, contrary to the Borough Council’s aims under Policy 13. Since there is no analysis to demonstrate how ‘sustainable transport measures’ can be delivered to this site (eg a report to determine the viability of extending/diverting existing local bus services), this exposes the weakness of a site selection process that does not properly integrate land use and transportation factors. There is also an implication, which we would oppose, that the conditions of the 2009 approval can be easily over-ridden.
- Whilst a slight reduction in the size of the allocation is welcome, we suspect that an additional 300 homes in this sensitive location will still serve to increase potential damage to the wood (and its wildlife), especially if the width of the protective gap/buffer zone between the wood and the future built-up area should narrow.
- There is no minimum requirement for affordable housing – the figure of “up to 30%” is meaningless as it relies on negotiations with developers and is viewed as being to their advantage.
- The size and location of the previously approved community park is unclear. We are concerned that the commitment to the concept of such a park to the north and north-west of the wood has been weakened and that its size is being reduced, especially across the ridgeline. We are convinced that the status and long-term management of this park needs to be fully addressed at this planning stage.
- The draft includes building close to properties on Musters Road and Boundary Road for the first time. In addition to the loss of residential amenity, this will obstruct fine views of the ridgeline to the north of the wood and harm open views from the Trent Embankment, various parts of West Bridgford, central Nottingham and Mapperley.
- There is little reference to the main access point for the bulk of the site/allocation from Melton Road where it is clear that traffic congestion and danger to pedestrians/cyclists will be exacerbated by the County Council’s premature decision to allow developers to omit an underpass even before proposals for increased housing numbers and a major new supermarket have emerged.
- There are no specified improvements to the A52 despite previous Highways Agency comments that improvements such as flyovers would be required. The Wheatcroft and Nottingham Knight roundabouts are already overloaded at peak times and there appears to be no plan to deal with the existing congestion or mitigate the effects of the additional journeys resulting from the development.
- The indicative plan for the site implies that the developer rather than the resident’s interests will dictate the location of community facilities. In particular it shows the proposed Neighbourhood Centre re-located to the southern periphery, contrary to the draft’s statement that a central location will give the best focus for community life and social cohesion.
- There would appear to be a good opportunity to maximise the south facing slope of much of the site in order to benefit from solar heat and PV installations and to promote greater energy self sufficiency. We recommend that the development is treated as suitable for decentralised renewable and low-carbon energy generation under the provisions of Policy 1.3 & 1.5 and the National Planning Policy Framework.