Green Belt Development Plans Pulled … for Now!

The planning application to construct an archery range on agricultural land north of Ruddington has been withdrawn.

After being told earlier this year they would be losing their current facilities in Wollaton Park, Wilford Bowmen were seeking a new site as a matter of urgency. Subsequently they applied for permission to Rushcliffe Borough Council (RBC) (22/00622/FUL) to change the use of a small part of the field east of Wilwell Cottage, accessed from Wilford Road (top), to house their new outdoor archery range. The application also included a parking area there for twenty vehicles, access gate, storage containers and a toilet block.

However, nearby residents were concerned that, not only is this area in Ruddington’s ever diminishing ‘Green Belt’, but also that the Bowmen’s application appeared to be just a small part of much larger ‘secret’ plans to develop the whole of the field into recreational facilities. A map (below) came to light seeming to show substantial additional infrastructure was proposed there; such as a sports complex with hockey pitches, cafe, lake areas and more. Most worrying of all, residents noted it even included what looked like proposed housing along its southern edge. However, none of this was mentioned in the planning application.

After this document came to light, villagers in the ‘Grange Farm’ area called an urgent meeting – also attended by RBC Planning Officer Andrea Baxter and Borough Councillor Mike Gaunt – to express their concerns about apparent “future development by stealth” by the landowners, in conjunction with other parties such as Wilford Bowmen and West Bridgford Hockey Club, who have admitted they are also hoping to relocate their facilities there. At this meeting, reassurances were given by the Planning Officer that the land could remain ‘green belt’, even if it was removed from agricultural use, which would limit the scale of development to recreational use of the site only.

However, 13 public objections were received, with only 3 supporting the plans. Reasons given for objecting included development on our Green Belt, loss of agricultural land, the negative effect on wildlife and a further increase in traffic along an already busy Wilford Road. Those in favour of the archery range welcomed this additional sporting facility for Ruddington.

Cllr Mike Gaunt

Cllr Gaunt, who serves as a Ruddington Parish Councillor, as well as a Rushcliffe Borough Councillor, also objected – as a consultee. He says: “All of the Green Belt is precious and should be protected for the future. The land that separates Ruddington from West Bridgford should be off-limits for housing and any development should be beneficial to the residents of the village. Myself and Councillor (Jen) Walker will work tirelessly, as always, to ensure that any development of this land is environmentally, socially and economically sustainable and that residents are consulted with fully about any future proposals.”

The local upset the application caused may have been partly what prompted Wilford Bowmen to withdraw their plans at the eleventh hour to consider their next move. This decision was revealed just before Ruddington Parish Councillors were due to consider it at their May meeting – meaning the application was then not even discussed.

Also understands that Ruddington Grange Golf Club had stepped in to offer Wilford Bowmen the use of its own facilities for archery practice, until a more permanent new home can be found, meaning the archers’ needs were no longer quite so urgent.

If a further, more comprehensive planning application for the site is received in the future, we’ll be sure to let you know!

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