The curious case of the Community Park that disappeared in the night

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In 2009 a Planning Inspector said the farmer could build on the greenbelt East of Sharphill Wood,  only on condition that the land to the West of the wood was transformed from wide open fields into meadows, copses and hedgerows. The Notts Wildlife Trust worked with developers to show how the fields could become a much more interesting place.

Developers drew a map showing residents where they could walk run and play on the iconic slope facing Nottingham, the one where children sledge in winter.

In 2013 that plan was scrapped and a new Planning Inspector examined the Council’s latest plan.   The park is reduced in size from 35 hectares to just 10.4.  Rushcliffe Council will not adopt it so the purchase of the land and the maintenance will be paid for by developers and future residents.

They drew another map.  Here are the two side by side.  Park to the West of the wood has gone as have the sports pitches,  and the buffer around the wood has shrunk to a slither.

Comparing plans for the Sharphill Community Park 2009 v 2015

Comparing plans for the Sharphill Community Park 2009 and 2015. More detailed maps below.

 

Fair play ?

We do not understand why the planning inspector in 2009 thought that this park was needed but the next planning inspector in 2014 thought it was not.     We think that Rushcliffe Borough Council is missing a great opportunity to provide public open space on this hillside facing Nottingham.

The much reduced park around the wood will be paid for by developers and maintained by money raised from the future residents.   Rushcliffe Council want nothing to do with it.  Imagine if the people who set up Wollaton Park, Bridgford Park or the Castle Grounds had been so accommodating to developers ?

 

What can you do ?

We are interested to know if residents think its worth campaigning to get this community park reinstated to the full 35 hectares.   Its within walking distance of much of West Bridgford.   The land is in the Greenbelt and somehow the land owner, Brian Wells, would need to be paid.

The Council are having another consultation which ends at 5pm on Tuesday 31 March 2015.      You can reply to this consultation to ask for more green space in the park.  Full details about how to reply are in the previous link,  but here is a summary;

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 localdevelopment@rushcliffe.gov.uk
  • By post to: Planning Policy, Rushcliffe Borough Council, Civic Centre, Pavilion Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham, NG2 5FE

Also,  why not click on the Facebook button (above right) so we can keep you up to date.

Before and After maps

Before: (confusingly this outdated plan still appears on Rushcliffe Borough Council’s web site)

PlansForSharphill-2009

The 2009 Proposal for Green Infrastructure at Sharphill.

 

After: (from page 27 of  ‘Draft Melton Road Edwalton Dev Frame SPD_final_low res.pdf‘)

Page27-of-Draft-Melton-Road-Edwalton-Dev-Frame-SPD_final_low-res

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2 Comments

  1. The reduction in the size of the country park is not the only issue with the new plans. They also intend to build on the highest ground between Sharphill Woods and Boundary Road and open up access from Musters Road. It seems to me that the plans are now being driven by local commercial interests rather than planning best practice!

    • We agree. Promises and section 106 agreements made in 2009 are now obsolete and the Council Planners seem to be led by developers rather than planning for sufficient green space, health facilities and even drains wide enough to cope with a storm.