Councillors Vote to Rescind Ruddington’s Green Belt

It’s just over a week since we revealed that FOUR Green Belt areas around the edge of our village had been given the Government Planning Inspector’s blessing to be sacrificed for at least 525 new houses.

In his report, Senior Inspector Philip Lewis BA (Hons) MA MRTPI concluded that Rushcliffe’s Local Plan Part 2, as submitted for examination, was “legally compliant and sound, subject to a number of modifications” he has recommended. None of these recommendations involved removing any houses from Ruddington’s quota!

At the Rushcliffe Borough Council (RBC) ‘Extraordinary Meeting’ called last night (Tuesday October 8th) specifically to discuss this report, Councillors voted 36 to 2 in favour of formally adopting RBC’s Plan, with two abstentions. This was despite last ditch objections from recently elected Ruddington Labour members Cllr Mike Gaunt and Cllr Jen Walker, who both voted against it.

Before the show of hands, Cllr Gaunt said: “As councillors we understand the amount of work that has gone into the Local Plan and that it is essential that we adopt the plan in due course. However, I need to express my deep concerns about the fact that we are being expected to vote with a straight yes or no decision regarding the amendments from the planning inspector without any attempt at a discussion as to the appropriateness of the amendments.”

Ruddington Borough Councillor Mike Gaunt

He continued: “The inspectors report was published on the 20th of September and we are being expected to accept all amendments in total. The huge increase in the allocation of housing from 350 to 525 in ruddington makes it impossible for us to accept these amendments. The original core strategy had suggested Ruddington had scope to sustain 350 houses on green field sites. This has simply been amended to 525 without any discussion!”

Cllr Gaunt then turned his attention to the ‘Land West of Wilford Road (Policy 6.1)’ and highlighted the unsustainable plans for housing on a flood plain. “The land falls into levels 1-3 of flood zoning and this puts some areas at a risk of a 1 in 20 chance of flooding.” He then questioned that the plan suggested that permission was granted because there were no reasonable alternative sites? “A reasonable alternative would be to remove the Wilford Road site from the local plan and return Ruddington’s allocation to 350 houses!” He concluded by calling for a pause on voting through the Local Plan until a proper investigation could be carried out on the impacts of the inspectors amendments. “The plans as they stand for Ruddington are neither sustainable or sound, both of which are meant to be core values of the Local Plan Part 2” he said.

However it was always on the cards that the Conservative majority would vote through The Local Plan last night “…to ensure that the Council is able to fulfil its statutory function as the Local Planning Authority for Rushcliffe.”  RBC points out that some district and borough councils who failed to come up with their own plans on time have instead had major housing allocations imposed on them by central government in areas of which they didn’t want. Ruddington’s third Borough Councillor Gary Dickman and our County Councillor Reg Adair made no comments at the meeting and voted in favour of the plan.

It is central government’s requirement that Rushcliffe should build a total of 13,150 new homes by 2028 – with the so called ‘non-strategic housing designations’ comprising 3,200 dwellings in Bunny, Cotgrave, Cropwell Bishop, East Bridgford, Gotham, Keyworth, Radcliffe-on-Trent, Ruddington and Sutton Bonington – with our village getting 525 of them.

Cllr Roger Upton

RBC’s Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Housing, Cllr Roger Upton, defended the authority’s decision: “The adopted plan provides new housing, employment and other development opportunities across the Borough. We can now look to meet the government’s demands as we are among the local authority areas in the region to build a significantly higher volume of homes. It will also mean we can further improve our five-year housing supply.”

He added: “The plan addresses the importance of trees in the Borough, with policies in place to protect against the loss of mature trees and woodland from development. There are other policies within the plan that relate to the natural and built environments. In particular it seeks to ensure that new development contributes to the enhancement of the green infrastructure and biodiversity network across Rushcliffe.”

Mike Ader of Ruddington Action Group (RAG) told us: “We’re hugely disappointed that the Borough Council has approved the Local Plan Part 2. Given that it appears there is now no way of stopping this, we need to make sure that house builders don’t build more properties than allocated in the plan – and also focus on the significant, likely implications on the highways and traffic management through the village as a result of all these developments.”

Protect Ruddington (PR) Tweeted: “#Ruddington is already a BIG “village” but this unsustainable decision will further destroy its character and also completely overwhelm our facilities and road infrastructure. 😠 Well done @Mikegauntnotts and @JenLouiseWalker for standing up to @Rushcliffe when no one else did. 👏🏼”

Cllr Walker said: “We will fight all the applications as they go through planning to make sure that the concerns of local people are actually listened to and to ensure that housing levels are kept to the lowest possible sustainable numbers.”

The adoption of Rushcliffe’s Local Plan will see dozens of acres of green fields in Ruddington – and the other eight designated villages across the borough – disappear under concrete and tarmac. It brings to an end many years of bitter protests and objections from villagers, various campaign groups (such as RAG and PR) and Ruddington Parish Council. During the protracted process, involving numerous consultations, Ruddington’s “sustainable” Green Belt housing allocation has risen steadily from 250 to 525 dwellings. This occurred as more sites subsequently deemed suitable by RBC were offered up by local landowners – followed by another 175 homes on land off Asher Lane not included in its final shortlist being unexpectedly added in! You can read more of the history >>HERE<<.

There are already planning applications pending for Wilford Road (Policy 6.1) and Flawforth Lane (Policy 6.2) upon which RBC can now reach a definite decision, whilst outline approval has recently been granted by the Council for Mere Way (Policy 6.3) and the previously approved Asher Lane site (Policy 6.4). However, all prospective property developers (except Avant Homes’ outline plans at Asher Lane) have exceeded the number of houses allocated to their sites within the Local Plan Part 2 when putting in their applications – by over a THIRD in the case of Bloor Homes off Wilford Road. This means Ruddington’s 525 dwellings in the now approved Local Plan could be considerably exceeded should RBC fail to ensure house builders keep to their quotas.

Once we get RBC’s planning verdicts on the remaining housing applications, and a timescale for the rescinding of the Green Belt status of these newly approved Ruddington development sites, we’ll let you know here at

{Aerial image showing some of Ruddington’s soon to be gone Green Belt courtesy of Google Maps.}

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