Ruddington’s long campaigned for “safe” footway from Clifton Road via the Old Station Drive development directly into the Pasture Lane Estate is finally finished.
Land clearance along its route was undertaken late last year before construction began in earnest on January 7th. Ten weeks later, the main work has now been completed on schedule – with the footpath quietly opening to pedestrians without any ceremony today (Saturday March 16th). Once workers had completed installation of the bollards and swept up, they lifted away the last of the site fencing and traffic cones at 1.45pm this afternoon.
After other options were first considered, followed by years of sorting out fairly complex land ownership issues over the former Great Central Railway line, Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) planners finally gave this new public right of way the thumbs up last September. The catalyst seems to have been a petition containing some 570 signatures in favour of the scheme to Crest Nicholson and NCC. This was started by villagers Jennifer Tinsley, Kay Garrett and Claire Harris, and facilitated by Ruddington Community Association and the Ruddington Neighbourhood Plan team. It was handed in by Ruddington’s County Councillor Reg Adair on July 12th 2018. Just eight months later, that extra pressure has helped to produce the desired result!
Chairman of NCC’s Communities & Place Committee, Councillor John Cottee told RUDDINGTON.info: “The path will open to the public – with landscaping works to the embankment and green areas next to the new footpath set to be carried out in the next couple of months. The new path, which is also for cycle use, will provide a safe and pleasant alternative for local people – in particular for children getting to and from local schools, parents with pushchairs as well as mobility scooter users who currently have to use the steep, narrow footway over the bridge on Clifton Road to get to local facilities.”
The original campaign for this access was launched seven and a half years’ ago by former Ruddington Parish Councillor Barbara Breakwell. It was after residents from the new housing complained to her of their “dangerous” daily walk because the safer parallel footway/cycleway route which appeared on plans by the original property developer over a decade ago was never built – until now!
Barbara says: “I must admit, when I started this quest in October 2011, I did not expect it to take this long. But, as my Gran used to say, ‘Patience is a virtue’ and ‘Everything comes to those who wait’. Obviously I am delighted that everyone who comes to the village from that area will now have a choice of routes – and this purpose built route will enable our local pupils to safely walk, cycle or scoot to school.”
Councillor Adair adds: “I am absolutely delighted to see this path complete and open for public use because I have worked with local residents and supported the project from day one. I’d like to thank everyone for their patience and co-operation throughout the works. The path creates a safer route to school for the children from nearby housing developments.”
Low-energy, low-level lighting has been installed along the new path to try to keep the impact on neighbours and wildlife to a minimum. The landscaping works which will be taking place in the coming months will involve removing brambles and planting new trees, shrubs and bulbs to improve the adjacent green areas. The promised litter bins are also yet to appear.
As reported previously, the new right of way HAS had its opponents. Old Station Drive resident Wayne Swift says, although he thinks the new path looks great, he and his family do now feel penned in by the higher new fence running right alongside their property (right): “I still strongly believe that the money for the path could have been used to make the old path safer” says Wayne. “I think in the hours of darkness the new path will not be used. Also it will take a while for the habitat that has been destroyed to make way for the path to grow back and to regain the wildlife – and it remains to be seen if we will get the return of the bats, as a lot of their foraging plants have been destroyed.”
Neighbour Sean Powrie adds: “I am not against children’s safety, far from it, but when you look at what a lovely natural environment we had and what there is now there is a stark difference and I can fully appreciate Wayne’s comments of feeling hemmed in. How many incidents on the path over the bridge led to this new path being created? I would ask that question to Adair and others who campaigned for it, as I never heard of any.”
However, Laura from Ruddington Mums says: “Since I’ve been in the village at least TWO cars have flown off the road over the path and into the fence/bushes/ditch (oh, and one of those set on fire so the fence had to be replaced). There are also many many more houses over the bridge now and many who have driven to avoid the path. So thank you to all involved.”
Bev Stanley, another Old Station Drive resident who was against the path, says: “I believe the incidents mentioned by Laura happened at the bottom of the bridge not on it – and possibly could have been avoided if traffic calming to the bridge (one lane only controlled by traffic lights, widening of the pathway) was carried out.” She adds: “I agree with Sean and Wayne about how nice it all looks at first sight but will wait to see what happens when it’s all finished. The fencing should be completed to both sides of the path – it seems to stop on one side as the path emerges on to Old Station Drive. The bollards, at present, appear useless due to the gaps at the sides where the fencing starts or where there is none. It’s disappointing to me that Mr Adair has campaigned such a long time for this path but not once has anyone contacted our household about it.”
Time will tell whether the work still to be done will satisfactorily fix the outstanding issues. Certainly, meantime, the hundreds of residents who have long campaigned for this new public access to be created will now be intending to make very good use of it!