Concerns of the Sharphill Action Group
- Reduction in size of the proposed Community Park from 35 hectares (2009/10) to 10.4 hectares (2015);
- Housing likely to breach ridgeline at the northern end of the site where previously the Community Park would enable unbroken views to and from the Wood;
- Up to 300 homes likely to gain access to Musters Road via a controlled barrier previously intended only for buses and emergency vehicles. So more traffic on Musters Rd;
- Closer proximity of development to the east side of the Wood;
- The safety implications of additional traffic near to local schools on Boundary and Musters Roads, plus of a more complex junction to negotiate at the brow of a hill;
- The proposed additional access off Melton Road at its junction with Edwalton Lodge Close, and the issue of how much of the site that it might serve;
- Lack of adequate surface water drainage to protect existing development adjacent to the north-east part of the site;
- Lack of suitable space for sports areas, allotments and a health facility, all agreed as part of the original 2009 permission.
How the plan has deteriorated from 2009 to 2015
After the decision to build on this Greenbelt land was made in 2009, the promises of green space have been broken, even before building starts. The land owner will keep farming the land that was allocated to be in the Community Park in 2009. Rushcliffe Borough Council does not want to own the park. Houses will be built much closer to the wood and along the ridgeline.
Sharphill, visible for miles, will appear to have a scarf of houses around it.
Will Developer’s keep promises ? Will the Council make sure they do ?
The battle to prevent major housing development was lost back in 2009, and 300 extra homes were approved by a Government Inspector in late 2014 after a Public Examination of modifications to the Local Plan Core Strategy.
Now the Sharphill action Group is campaigning to ensure that the community facilities that were ‘promised’ back then are not watered down when the Borough Council deals with the current planning applications by three sets of developers. To assist this process, the Council has had a Development Framework (or Masterplan) for the Sharphill site prepared as a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), and a draft version is now available for public consultation.
The intention is that the SPD, once revised and formally approved, will evaluate the key characteristics of the site, set out some design principles and opportunities that developers should be follow and identify the contributions they will be expected to make towards establishing the key infrastructure. The infrastructure will include schools, highways, drainage, the community park, open/play space and leisure facilities, some of which will be off-site.
The Sharphill Action Group (SAG) has studied the SPD and will be submitting comments but, as you will be aware, there is greater strength in multiple objections, so we urge you to read the document via the link to the Borough Council’s website [INSERT LINK] as soon as possible.
Our concerns are summarised above for your information, and are focussed upon 8 points which may help steer your reaction and subsequent submission –which the Council would prefer that you make online on the form via the consultation portal, but there are other methods (see below at end).
Is the process being led by developers and land owners ?
The SPD document divides the site up into seven development zones on both sides of Melton Road, excluding land set aside for the park and the primary school. The current applications by Bovis Homes, Taylor Wimpey and Barratts virtually mirror three of those zones and their other provisions are conveniently echoed by the SPD’s content.
The Sharphill Action Group are therefore concerned that there has been undue involvement by these developers /landowners or their representatives in preparing this document which amounts to “the tail wagging the dog” in respect of proper, independent planning of the site infrastructure.
For instance, it may partly explain why the area of the Community Park has shrunk from 35 to 10.4 hectares in recent years, why the ridgeline has not been valued, why the most northerly zone will have to accommodate an excess of homes on the most sensitive parcel of land* and why additional ‘local’ access points have been sought.
The SPD supposedly sets a framework which can integrate the various proposals of developers to ensure that they contribute pro rata to implementing the necessary infrastructure and community facilities for the Sharphill site. It is crucial that it is shaped by the Council and the community as much as (or more than) its eventual developers.
Ridgeline likely to be built on
To date the applications provide for a total of 940 homes which leaves the remaining, hillier part of the site (closest to Rushcliffe School and Musters Road) to produce the balance of 550 homes that will satisfy the target of the Local Plan which is “around 1500 dwellings”. This is a tall order if the ridge and the Wood are to be adequately protected and will necessitate higher densities than envisaged unless the other can be shown to accommodate more.
How to have your say
Comments on the draft SPD and its associated documents can be made:
- On the Council’s online consultation system at http://rushcliffe-consult.objective.co.uk/portal
- Or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- By post to: Planning Policy, Rushcliffe Borough Council, Civic Centre, Pavilion Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham, NG2 5FE
All comments must be submitted to the Council by 5.00pm on Tuesday 31 March 2015. If you have any questions, you are advised to call Planning Policy on 0115 981 9911, or email Richard Mapletoft at email@example.com.