Ruddington’s Day with The Planning Inspector

December 4th 2018 could go down as the historic date which determined exactly how many hectares of our village Green Belt would be sacrificed for housing development over the following decade.

After many years of consultation and confrontation, it’s the meeting that will determine whether the three Ruddington sites earmarked for new homes under Rushcliffe Borough Council’s Local Plan Part 2 {shown in BLUE above} are rubber-stamped – or otherwise – by the Government’s Planning Inspectorate. You can read the background to this long running saga elsewhere on the website – plus the specifics about Tuesday’s meeting >>HERE<<.

The face-to-face “roundtable” hearings at Rushcliffe Arena, with Senior Planning Inspector Philip Lewis BA (Hons) MA MRTPI, are the last chance for concerned residents, groups and bodies who have previously made representations, looking for a change to the Plan (and who have registered a request to appear) to get their points across. Ruddington’s allocated day will include representatives from Ruddington Parish Council (RPC), Ruddington Action Group (RAG)Ruddington Community Association (RCA) and Protect Ruddington as well as property developers and landowners poised to make the most of whatever comes their way!

One of those housebuilders is Bloor Homes, which has long expressed a desire to build on the Green Belt land west of Wilford Road (RUD01). Early in 2015 the company released original plans for the site which followed talks with RPC about also including Sellors’ Playing Field. An outcry from concerned residents prompted RPC to rethink and for RBC to remove the recreation ground from its published plans.

Now, in a carefully timed move just ahead of these hearings, Bloor Homes has just released a “Newsletter” containing a new “masterplan” of how RUD01 might now look if the remaining agricultural land is released for housing – with revisions aimed at mitigating residents concerns arising from the first time its plans were made public some three and a half years’ ago.

These changes include reducing the chance of flooding – which is a major issue since much of the proposed site is classed as National Flood Zone 2 or 3. To alleviate this, the developer proposes re-routing some of Packman Dyke north into the adjacent field (previously RUD02) – in order to build a large “balancing pond” there for floodwater. It suggests further agricultural land north of this dyke could also be converted into a “grassland” and “meadow” with footpaths – even though RBC has no plans to remove this field from the Green Belt.

Bloors’ newsletter states: “The development would provide around 170 new homes, of which 30% would be affordable homes for rent or shared ownership. There would be a range of housing-types including one and two-bedroom maisonettes, two, three and four bedroom detached, semi-detached and terraced houses and two bedroom bungalows. We would like to share our revised plans with local residents prior to submitting a planning application. To do this, we will be holding another public drop-in exhibition in Ruddington before Christmas”. This consultation date has now been confirmed on Thursday 13th December 2018 from 3pm to 7pm in St Peter’s Rooms.

The farmland west of Wilford Road often turns into a “lake” during wet weather

Meantime there is little doubt that Bloor Homes will want to share these revised plans with Philip Lewis during the Ruddington hearing – especially after fellow Planning Inspector Nick Fagan said of the site: “Whilst RUD01 is … urban fringe it is, in my judgement … prominent … 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. National policy does not favour development on sites in Flood Zones (FZ) 2 and 3 where land in FZ 1 … is available.”

Mr Fagan wrote this summary after controversially overruling RBC in May this year when approving outline planning permission for 175 houses on Green Belt land off Asher Lane {RUD07 shown in RED}. As these homes weren’t included in RBC’s Local Plan total of 350, suddenly Ruddington was faced with the spectre of 525 Green Belt homes. This resulted in calls for RUD01 to be removed, since it is no longer necessary to meet Ruddington’s housing allocation and is also seen by many as the least suitable of RBC’s three earmarked Green Belt development sites.

A spokesperson for Protect Ruddington commented: “Even Rushcliffe‘s Local Plan only allocates 130 homes on RUD01. Bloors are now suggesting they’d squeeze in 170 houses there!‬ Their scheme, and any plans for building on this precious Green Belt land, must be thrown out by The Planning Inspector, once and for all.‬”

Ian Wilson, of Ruddington Community Association, said: “Bloors are clearly aware that this development is not popular as they have paid a London PR firm to come and try and sell the proposal to us. This is obviously PRollocks as they claim they choose to not go ahead with building on Sellors Recreation Ground when it was local campaigning which led to the Parish Council no longer agreeing to sell. Bloors will probably make £10 million profit from this development though we are confident that they won’t be able to buy off village opinion.”

Chandler Wilson, of Ruddington Green Party, stated: “We do not think anyone should be building houses on the Green Belt and sadly, based on the information shared so far, these will not be energy efficient nor truly affordable. The typical price of a Bloors’ house on other developments has been £300,000 so when they talk of affordable homes these could still cost up to £240,000. You will need to be paid over £65,000 to afford one of their ‘affordable’ homes. The Bloor group of companies donated over £500,000 to the Conservative Party last year so we expect every member of the Conservative Party to declare an interest.”

Ruddington Action Group declined to make any further comment ahead of its meeting with the Planning Inspector. However its Chair, Mike Ader, has previously told us: “We were hugely disappointed that Rushcliffe Borough Council did not amend its final Local Plan Stage 2 submission regarding the proposed number of houses in Ruddington, in light of the surprising Asher Lane outcome. This Examination gives the village an opportunity to put its case directly to the Inspector, highlighting that if the plan is approved it will be hugely detrimental to Ruddington which is already overly congested and amenities totally stretched………approving 520+ new houses on Green Belt land, in addition to all of the ones expected on ‘Brown Field’, is ill thought through and plainly ridiculous!!”

RPC Councillor Paul Reedman said: “I welcome this opportunity on behalf of the Parish Council to put forward our concerns about these proposals to the Planning Inspector.”


The critical, Ruddington-focused meeting, entitled ‘Matter 2: Housing Land Supply’, took place this morning at Rushcliffe Arena – beginning at 9.30am and concluding an hour ahead of schedule, at around midday, after all the points and concerns had been covered.

Questions posed by the Government’s Planning Inspector at this session were:

Land West of Wilford Road (RUD01)

  • In the application of the Sequential Test, is there sufficient evidence to suggest that in terms of flood risk, there are no reasonably available sites appropriate for the proposed development in areas with a lower probability of flooding?
  • Is the proposed allocation consistent with the five purposes of the Green Belt in terms of preventing neighbouring towns from merging into one another and to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment and would it provide a permanent boundary to the Green Belt?
  • What is the realistic site capacity given the identified constraints?

Land South of Flawforth Lane (RUD05)

  • Would the proposed modifications be effective in securing the required infrastructure?

Land opposite Mere Way (RUD13)

  • Would the proposed modifications be effective in securing the required infrastructure?

Land North of Asher Lane (RUD07) – Proposed Modification

  • Are the development requirements consistent with the planning permission for the site?

Ruddington’s representatives sat around the table with those from Rushcliffe Borough Council, Nottinghamshire Count Council, Bloor Homes, Linden Homes, Gladman Developments, William Davis Ltd, The Crown Estate, Field 6909 Consortium, and individual residents who’d been given a chance to have their say.

Richard Mapletoft of Rushcliffe Borough Council explained that they were in the process of trying to get Asher Lane’s 175 approved homes to become part of its Local Plan Part 2 – meaning they could then be included in its housing target. But he also defended RBC‘s decision NOT to reduce the allocation for Ruddington – because even 525 homes was still less than the numbers proposed for most of the other settlements of a comparable size in the Borough.

But Paul Reedman said RPC‘s view is that RBC’s plan was not sound – as no consultation had taken place with Councils nor residents about potentially 525 houses being built on Ruddington’s Green Belt. RBC had also previously written that 350 would be the maximum sustainable by our village infrastructure. Catherine Haywood of RCA revealed she’d been told that her two children would now be “lucky” to get into Rushcliffe School next year because of the demand caused by all the new families at the Sharphill Wood development – and that’s BEFORE any more homes get built in Ruddington! Mike Ader of RAG said his group urge that the total housing allocation at the three Green Belt sites under consideration should now be reduced by 175 to compensate for the Asher Lane “windfall”.

A lengthy discussion followed about the suitability of the land West of Wilford Road (RUD01) given its flooding history, its importance as a village gateway and its proximity to the West Bridgford conurbation – liable to cause coalescence and therefore a loss of village identity. Bloor Homes’ representative moved to reassure future homeowners, and those in surrounding properties, that the known flooding issues could be mitigated. But Paul Reedman said RPC’s view was that RUD01 should be completely removed from the development plans – especially now that the property developer is talking about building 170 homes there and encroaching into RUD02 to achieve it. Potentially this could boost Ruddington’s Green Belt housing total to 565 if it were to be granted planning permission on that basis!

No major objections were heard about the development of RUD05 or RUD13 other than addressing some difficult drainage issues and ensuring the retention of a substantial “screen” of vegetation for these sites beside other village approaches. However, resident Mr J Potter made the rather unusual suggestion that a few hectares of our Country Park could be sacrificed for housing development, rather than building over valuable agricultural land. The Planning Inspector made it clear that a rethink of RUD07 was not on the table!

The hearings will now continue – covering other towns and villages across Rushcliffe – until Thursday December 13th. It is not anticipated we will get to hear any decisions from Philip Lewis about Ruddington’s Green Belt housing allocations until early in 2019.

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