[THIS ISSUE IS NOT CURRENT ANY MORE, BUT SOME OF THE POINTS COULD APPLY WHEN OBJECTING TO THE LATEST PLANNING APPLICATION]
Summary of objections of Sharphill Action Group to the proposed modifications to the Rushcliffe local plan’s core strategy
Impact upon Sharphill wood
Whilst a slight reduction in the size of the housing allocation is welcome, 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. Much will depend upon the quality of any fresh masterplan or brief for the site, and the extent to which the points below can be resolved.
Refer to: Policy 19 Mods, Paragraph 126.96.36.199 of Justification and new Figure 1.
Access point from Musters Road
The access onto Musters Rd to the north of the site/allocation, which was restricted to bus and emergency vehicles only in the 2009 permission, is now proposed for opening to “a limited amount of local traffic” serving an unspecified area of single storey housing. There are real concerns that, contrary to previous commitments, this will become an entrance to the whole development, bringing significant extra traffic to both Musters and Boundary Roads, with consequent adverse impact upon road safety for both Rushcliffe and Jesse Gray schools.
Refer to: Policy 19 D.7, Para 188.8.131.52a of Justification and new Figure 1.
Access point from Melton Road
The principal site access point from Melton Road was originally going to incorporate an underpass (beneath Melton Road to reach land known as the Melton triangle with a split-level junction. Now thanks to a planning retreat by both Borough & County Councils in 2013, it will become two sets of lights (with filter lanes) all at one level. This cheaper solution involves additional turning movements that will endanger pedestrians/cyclists, lead to traffic delays and create unwarranted congestion close to a major roundabout on the ring road.
The decision to allow developers to omit this underpass was somewhat premature in advance of specific proposals for 300 extra homes and a major new 3,700sq.m supermarket (which will generate considerably more traffic at this junction), and it should be reversed by negotiation at the next planning stage.
Refer to: Policy 19 D. 7,8 & 9, Paras 3,4.3.3 & 4 of Justification and new Figure 1.
Community Park & ridgeline
The size and location of the previously approved community park is unclear. It appears that the 2009 commitment to the concept of such a park to the north and north-west of the wood has been weakened, and that its size will be reduced especially across the ridgeline. The status and long-term management of this park needs to be addressed at the Local Plan stage.
The changes suggest that building will occur close to properties on Musters Road and Boundary Road for the first time. In addition to the loss of residential amenity, this is likely to obstruct fine views of the Sharphill ridgeline from the north including from Nottingham Castle,Trent Embankment, Mapperley and parts of West Bridgford. In addition, the landscape setting of the wood from the south will be interrupted by further large industrial / business uses close to Wheatcrofts.
Refer to: Policy 19 E.13,14 &17 and new Figure 1.
The transport consequences of both large urban extensions to West Bridgford have so far been ill-thought out in relation to movements to/from the city and to commuting pressures upon the river bridges. Late additions to the Modifications reveal major scheduled £25 +m improvements to the A.52 required by 2021 (from Dunkirk to Radcliffe) and unspecified minor measures for Musters Rd, Boundary Rd and Tollerton Lane (estim at £1.3m), but they give little attention to likely public transport routes. Only £1.5m is set aside for cycling, walking and public transport improvements in Edwalton, and yet this is in spite of a strong policy emphasis on sustainable transport (ie to reduce car dependency).
Refer to: Policies 19 D.8,& 9, 2.5c, 14.5 and Paras 184.108.40.206A plus 220.127.116.11a & 2b of Justification, and Paras 129 & 221 of Inspector’s Report of April 2009 (initial applic).
Housing / Affordable Homes
The changed policy no longer sets a minimum requirement for affordable housing. The revised target of “up to 30%” conflicts with the conclusions of the Inspector’s Report dated 20th April 2009 and is potentially too advantageous to developers in light of the current, well-documented difficulties of gaining access to new housing. With an evident improved market performance and prospects, there is no real case for weakening the previous target of 30% as a minimum threshold to be reached for this and other large sites in the Local Plan.
Refer to: Policy 19 A.1& 2, and Para 18.104.22.168 of Justification, and Inspector’s Report.
The new proposals seek to steer the community centre away from a central location within the site as a result of a supermarket application on the land set aside for business. It thus appears that developer rather than residents’ interests have dictated the preferred move of the Neighbourhood Centre to the southern edge of the housing area. This is contrary to the draft Plan’s assertion that a central location will give the best focus for community life and social cohesion.
Refer to: Policy 19 C.6 and new Figure 1.