This Guide is intended to encourage you to object to a planning application by Vistry Homes that is currently being assessed by Rushcliffe Borough Council. In order to view it you will need to use the RBC planning website to examine the drawings and supporting documents submitted by the developer.
The easiest approach is to do a simple search via the following link:
This requires you to enter the application reference no. (in the box at the bottom of the main page):
(NB. the title mentions reserved matters and the outline planning permission to which it relates) and then to activate the Documents file to access plans, drawings and comments.
You can make representations by letter or online -see further information under ‘Commenting on Planning Applications’ via this link: https://www.rushcliffe.gov.uk/planningandbuilding. If online, you can click on ‘Comments’ once you’ve activated the Simple Search, fill in your details and then submit your message in the appropriate box. Alternatively, you can send a straightforward letter or message (quoting the application number) to the case officer or to the Head of Planning Service at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The size and role of the Proposed Park
The land involved occupies much of the slope on the north side of Sharphill Wood, stretching from the fringes of the Wood to the backs of existing homes in Bracey Rise and Dorchester Gardens, but it also involves a strip that borders the east side. Its area will total just over 10 ha which is intended to include paths, a community orchard and allotments.
The Borough Council’s Development Framework of 2015 expects the park’s role to be more as a nature reserve than as an area for intense recreational activity. It will cover “…a range of native habitats including woodland, scrub, hedgerows, wildflower grassland and meadows. The approach seeks to provide a community asset to serve existing and future residents, provide for biodiversity enhancement and establish a suitable landscape buffer to Sharphill Wood”(Design Code p.52).
Main Objections of Sharphill Action Group: An Explanation
1) When viewing the Community Park Plan, you should concentrate on a light green area that features the proposed planting scheme, footpath routes, community orchard and a play area. Within that area, however, there is a red dotted line that surrounds a smaller element of the proposals plan. The key refers to it as advance works (to include buffer planting and fencing), but the line is replicated on the Location Plan as showing the boundary of the application; in essence this gives the impression that the developer (Vistry Homes) does not intend to implement a large part of the scheme. Unless it is confirmed that a 2nd phase scheme will follow, this is a clear reason for making an objection.
2) Due to the red line boundary the application does not extend to the south-east of the Wood (or indeed beyond the Bloor’s housing site) and thus excludes the footpath/cycleway connecting to the A.52 underpass and the protective post & rail fencing around the edge of the Wood –both of which could be subject to planning conditions and completed at an early stage. This brings into question the status of the proposed tree and hedge planting proposals outside the red line to the east and west of the Wood since they are key components of the overall scheme and should not be left to chance.
3) The Park Plan also outlines a potential Allotment site thus raising doubt about its inclusion, and suggesting that an alternative site may be under consideration. The Borough Council as local planning authority will need to know whether it is part of the scheme or not. If it is, there should be details of how it will be accessed and enclosed. At present there is no vehicle route defined through the adjacent Phase 7 housing or any land set aside for a small car park or turning area. In addition, no arrangement of plots or provision of a secure store for Friends of Sharphill Wood and allotment holders is identified. These omissions are more compatible with a sketch scheme than a reserved matter application.
[NB. SAG has regularly indicated that this may not be the best site for allotments due to the slope and heavy clay soil; it will also be difficult to establish fruit trees in a community orchard in these conditions without major improvements to the drainage and soil type.]
4) The layout /levels of the major children’s play area to the south of the primary school should be capable of being assessed in more detail. The NEAP triangle in the key refers to another drawing that has not been submitted as part of the park application. In addition there is no detail of the treatment of the rights of way, footpath/cycleway or maintenance track to the Wood (especially their width and surface type).
5) There is a history of localised storm flooding in properties that sit below the park area which greatly concerns Willow Road and Bracey Rise residents and has been aggravated recently by mounds of earth stored on the site. It seems that the speed of future surface water run-off will rely on new planting (esp. in the buffer zone in front of the boundary with adjoining houses) and good maintenance of an existing field culvert to absorb its impact, as well as some diversion via the spine road system. There are doubts as to whether this will be adequate during peak periods and some affected residents have queried the narrow width of the buffer zone. They have been seeking reassurance from the developer, Severn Trent Water and the County Council’s Flood Risk Management Officer, as well as from the Borough Council.
6) The key is incomplete on the 3 main plans submitted –in particular the existing/ proposed Community Park Levels drawing which fails to show any allotments. It is assumed that the re-profiling will involve the bunds of earth that have become a temporary feature on the site of the park, but this has not been made clear. These earth works have disturbed the activities of local badgers, and it is suggested that artificial badger setts are installed for their ongoing protection.
Your case will be greatly helped by reference to the policy guidance of the adopted Rushcliffe Local Plan Pt 1 (ref: Policy 20) and the Edwalton Development Framework (a supplementary planning document), both also available from the Planning & Building section of the Borough Council’s website (see Planning Policy). Comments should be sent as soon as possible but ideally no later than 30th July.