Asher Lane Housing Approved!

Ruddington has LOST its long running battle with housing developers who’ve applied to build a major new housing estate on Green Belt land off Asher Lane.

Following an appeal hearing last month granted to Space Foods Limited by The Planning Inspectorate, Rushcliffe Borough Council‘s decision to refuse them outline permission for the site has been overturned. This means around 175 new homes can now be built on this land – bordered by Asher Lane, Musters Road, Western Fields and the footpath alongside the Great Central Railway line (see top photo).

Hundreds of villagers had objected to two different sets of plans – firstly with access off Asher Lane (below) then, just prior to the appeal, with access off Musters Road. So there was much local relief when planning permission was refused by RBC in April last year.

Now, in his report dated 23rd May 2018, Chief Planning Inspector Nick Fagan writes: “The appeal is allowed and outline planning permission is granted for 175 dwellings including vehicular access, pedestrian links, public open space, car parking, landscaping and drainage (all matters reserved) at land north of Asher Lane, Ruddington, Nottinghamshire NG11 6JB, in accordance with the terms of the application, Ref 16/03123/OUT, dated 22nd December 2016.”  This is the version of the application showing access off Asher Lane, and his statement continues: “Taking into account the Council’s views on the matter, it would be inappropriate to consider access from Musters Road and that this appeal should focus on the principle of access being taken from Asher Lane. The appellant consented to that and agreed to strike out any evidence referring to access from Musters Road.”

Numerous conditions have been attached to the granting of development. You can download the Planning Inspectorate’s complete 21 page “Appeal Decision” document >>HERE<<. As well as its conclusions being a blow for the Borough Council, the decision has come as a shock and a grave disappointment to many local residents and to Ruddington Parish Council, which also vigorously opposed these plans.

Councillor Paul Reedman

Vice Chairman of the Parish Council, Paul Reedman, says: “I am dismayed to read the decision by Planning Inspector, Nick Fagan, into the appeal against Rushcliffe Borough Council’s refusal to grant planning permission for 175 new houses at Asher Lane. Ruddington Parish Council has consistently opposed this development, reflecting the views expressed by residents and business owners in public meetings and online, and is very disappointed that the appeal has been allowed and that development will take place. Ruddington Parish Council maintains that the building of 175 houses off Asher Lane, with the extra vehicles that this will inevitably bring, will place an enormous burden on our narrow roads. Asher Lane is unable to cope with existing traffic levels and this decision will exacerbate that situation. The installation of traffic lights in our historic conservation area at the High Street, Kirk Lane and Charles Street junction will have a serious, detrimental visual impact of our village centre and will have an adverse impact on trade for our shops due to the loss of parking.”

Ruddington Action Group (RAG) has also campaigned long and hard against housing here. Chairman Mike Ader told“RAG is passionate about protecting the rural and historic character of the village. We are not ‘anti-development’, but wish to see the village developed sustainably for the benefit of future generations. RAG does not believe this proposal would deliver on this vision.”

However, it seems the Planning Inspector disagreed with all the local objections being important enough to refuse planning permission on the site – formerly known as RUD07. Not only that, he’s even called into question the wisdom of the Borough Council’s current preferred Local Plan Part 2 sites which are now the subject of a “final” public consultation!

Mr Fagan states: “Whilst RUD01 is also urban fringe it is, in my judgement, far more prominent than the appeal site especially when viewed approaching the village on the south sloping Wilford Road next to the golf club. Its northern boundary is only a field ditch and this offers no screening to any new development, albeit that landscaping could be provided. Nonetheless, this boundary cannot realistically be termed strong or defensible. The green gap between West Bridgford and Ruddington is relatively narrow and development at RUD01 would narrow it even more. The majority of RUD01 is also in Flood Zone 2. Although the Council has carried out a sequential test, its decision to prioritise RUD01 above the appeal site is in essence based on the latter’s highway constraints. National policy does not favour development on sites in Flood Zones (FZ) 2 and 3 where land in FZ 1 like the appeal site is available.” He continues: RUD05 and RUD13 lie on the east side of the A60 unlike the village which lies on its west. There is some development on Flawforth Lane and Flawforth Avenue and RUD05 adjoins it. But at RUD13, which would take its access off the Mere Road roundabout, there is no existing development on the east side of the A60. Both sites, and especially RUD13, would be disconnected from the heart of the village, with relatively poor accessibility compared with the appeal site.”

Original map showing all of Rushcliffe Borough Council’s potential Green Belt housing sites

Before the shortlist of RBC’s final three sites was published, Ruddington Parish Council had voted to object to RUD01 but said that RUD05 and RUD13 were acceptable. As RBC states that Ruddington needs to find space for just 350 Green Belt homes, there will inevitably now be pressure on the Council to withdraw at least one of these other, shortlisted sites. Otherwise it could mean a total of 525 Green Belt houses being built in our village by 2028! 

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