December 2013

Show The Council You Care About The Future Of Sharphill

Please Attend the Council Meeting – 7pm, 12th December at Rushcliffe Council Offices, Trent Bridge

On Thursday 12th December, the council will be meeting to vote on plan which sets out how land will be allocated for housing in Rushcliffe. It includes plans for Sharphill. We think it has some major flaws which will have some damaging impacts on Sharphill and the local community:

Ten concerns we have about the changed plan

  1. It includes an additional 300 homes in this sensitive location which will increase damage to the wood and its wildlife.
  2. The access to the top of Musters Rd which was previously restricted to bus and emergency vehicles only is now open to “a limited amount of local traffic”. 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 consequent impact upon safety for both Rushcliffe and Jesse Gray schools.
  3. It 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.
  4. 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 will be reduced, especially across the ridgeline. We believe that the status and long-term management of this park needs to be addressed at the Local Plan stage.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. The indicative plan for the site implies that developer rather than residents’ 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.
  9. There is concern that a major peripheral retail outlet, as planned for the Wheatcroft part of the allocation, will damage trading at existing local retail parades, especially those at Boundary and Melton Roads and in Edwalton.
  10. 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. There is also an implication that the conditions of the 2009 approval can be easily over-ridden.

At a meeting of the Council’s Cabinet Committee on 3rd December 2013, it was agreed to support the modifications to the Draft Rushcliffe Core Strategy which will allocate land for at least an additional 3550 new homes (to serve up till 2028) across the borough, and to refer the report unchanged to a full Council meeting on Thurs12th Dec. There was no debate on any details, but reference was made to the working group’s conclusions.


Rushcliffe Core Strategy Proposed Modifications

This document is an attempt to plan an extra 3,550 additional in the Borough by 2028. By the way, a £5 prize to the first person who can definitively say who thought up that number. (Friends and families of Officers are welcome to take part).

The revised plan is vague about some crucial details concerning Edwalton and Sharphill. It looks like there will be no development West of the wood, yet. But an extra 300 homes will be shoe horned in on the East, including some houses at the top of Musters Road. There is no provision for the country park that was a condition when the 2009 Planning Appeal was upheld. We have ten concerns for councillors about the “Rushcliffe Core Strategy Proposed Modifications”.

The next step will be on 12th December when the full council votes on this paper. There will then be a six week consultation in the new year. In reality, as each step of the process happens, the plan becomes more solid.

You are welcome to spectate at this council meeting.

Most of the conditions placed on the developers in 2009 seem to have been undone.

It is remarkable how the Planning Process can change so quickly. The legalistic and expensive Inquiry of 2009 now counts for little, a big waste of time and effort for both sides.
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A short film

MSc students at the University of Nottingham have made this video about the the open space on Sharphill. It gives am impression of what the place looks like in autumn and how it is used by the existing residents.