The latest planning application by Bovis Homes and John A Wells Ltd for 600 homes at the top end of the Sharphill development site has aggrieved residents in the Musters/Boundary Road area, who have so far submitted over 500 objections. The developers have indicated that they wish to depart from the approved Local Plan and the supplementary Development Framework (DF) by:
Intending to deliver up to 100 homes beyond the allocation in the approved Local Plan
opening up the Musters Road cul-de-sac to all vehicles, instead of the agreed barrier-controlled access for buses and emergency vehicles only.
This proposal will complete a series of four main housing zones submitted by various developers of the major strategic land allocation at Edwalton. It incorporates three key elements of the infrastructure investment shared with the three other zones -which have already gained full planning permission- namely the community park, the primary school and the spine road connection to Musters Road. The latter has proved the most controversial.
A concession had previously been won to allow ‘a limited amount of local traffic movement’ to use this access if it was shown to be technically feasible, workable and sustainable. Peter Jaggar of the Sharphill Action Group (SAG) claims that:
none of these criteria have been properly examined in the latest Bovis proposal. Instead their transport statement has sought to show that 70% of traffic generated by the new homes would travel via Melton Road in future and only 30% via the ‘secondary’ Musters Rd access by means of a evidently flawed analysis.
The idea of favouring a traffic free-for-all via Musters Road has been met with widespread derision and indeed anger from local residents and parents whose children attend Jesse Gray Primary and Rushcliffe Academy. They fear a decline in road safety and air quality as a result of higher traffic levels in the area.
Kirsty Nelson, SAG chair, added:
Local county and borough councillors have pledged their support for the campaign whose resolution lies in the hands of both local authorities. The role of the Action Group has been crucial in outlining protest points on its website savesharphillagain.org. We would urge as many people as possible to check the application details using the ref.no. 17/00941/OUT and to object to the Borough Council by letter or via the online system at : https://planningon-line.rushcliffe.gov.uk/online-applications/
SAG is also concerned about the prospect of building across the previously protected ridge line that allows spectacular, distant views to and from Sharphill Wood, and about the realisation that, with three smaller zones yet to be brought forward, the various developers are proposing to exceed the overall total of 1,500 homes approved for the Edwalton land release.
In Peter Jaggar’s view:
this tends to undermine the work they conducted with the Borough Council to agree a Development Framework document. It would appear that most of the supporting studies that determined the requirements for and the level of developer contributions to the common infrastructure such as drainage capacity, off-site traffic generation, park & play facilities, air quality impact and school size are based on 1500 homes rather than 1600. It is a serious matter if the master planning exercise has been invalidated in this way.
Since the original 2009 approval there has already been a reduction of community parkland and the buffer zone for Sharphill Wood, plus the loss of central local shops and of a safer access arrangement onto Melton Road.
Now it can be argued that there is notionally land available across the whole site to restore some of these losses of community facilities
Kirsty Nelson insists that:
It is now incumbent upon Rushcliffe Borough Council (as planning authority) and the County Council (as highway authority) to retain the emphasis of the Development Framework, to ensure road safety and defend residential amenity by not bowing to the significant changes that developers are proposing by stealth.