Welcome To Wilbur Chase!

Just when you thought our globally celebrated village pussycat couldn’t possibly receive any more accolades, the company behind a major Ruddington property development has named its new £60m housing estate after him!

Wilbur in party mood – or perhaps not?!

Following Rushcliffe Borough Council‘s granting of planning permission 18/00300/OUT last week for Avant Homes (Midlands) to build 175 dwellings on the 15.89 acre site south off Musters Road, the Nottingham based developer has announced it will be called ‘Wilbur Chase’! This is, of course, in homage to ‘Wilbur – King of Ruddington’, our unwittingly world famous feline, who left his owner’s home in a huff several years ago and now lives paw to mouth between several village centre venues. These include The Frame Breakers, The Red Lion, Phoenix Flowers, Philo’s Deli, Classic Cuts, Jasper’s Café, Perkins’ Hardware, The Bottle Top and – perhaps most frequently – Nottingham Building Society. One of the highlights was villagers throwing Wilbur a huge Tenth Birthday Party at The Frame Breakers last year – to which the nonchalant nomad never actually showed up. For that event Wilbur had his own cake and a real ale named after him – and has subsequently released a 2020 calendar with a little help from Lesley Harper at the Building Society!

Now Wilbur is to be immortalised in stone – at least in a great deal of bricks, concrete and tarmac – thanks to the local insight of the house builder. There is just the slight irony in the name chosen that few villagers will have ever seen Wilbur “chase” anything. A gentle amble – often holding up the High Street traffic in the process – is rather more the style of this particularly cool cat! The developers’ gesture has been welcomed by many – with Clare Huntley commenting: “I love it. Well done Wilbur!” and Joe Staniforth saying: “We must buy a house there, no questions asked!”

One of the Parish Council meetings to protest at the development plans

However, of course, this new estate is on the former Green Belt site which was the subject of a long and bitter battle by village residents, Ruddington Action Group and Ruddington Parish Council to prevent housing development. After lengthy public consultations it didn’t make it into the original Rushcliffe Borough Council (RBC) Local Plan Part 2 and outline planning permission was rejected by the Borough Council – before being allowed on appeal by a Government Planning Inspector. A second appeal over RBC’s refusal of access via Musters Road was then also allowed by another Government Planning Inspector – paving the way for the site to be a more attractive proposition for a prospective developer. It was subsequently added as a fourth site in RBC’s allocation of Ruddington Green Belt homes (as Policy 6.4) – before being acquired by Avant Homes to create its new development.

Janice Pickersgill comments: “Still 175 houses on Green Belt land. Giving it a cute name doesn’t change anything. ‘A rose by any other name . . .'” whilst Sue Enright says: “Oh well done, Avant Homes! Send them my regards for sticking the knife further in our backs by naming their unwanted housing estate after our very own Wilbur!!”

The 175 three, four and five-bedroom properties approved last Thursday by RBC will feature 12 house types – including 122 for the ‘open market’ and 53 ‘affordable’ – as shown on the map below:

Weather permitting, groundworks for Wilbur Chase are set to start as early as next month (March 2020) with the marketing suite expected to open in May and the show homes following in July.

Avant Homes Midlands managing director Tim Brickley says: “We are very pleased to have received planning permission for our Wilbur Chase development in Ruddington. We have worked closely with Rushcliffe Borough Council and active members of the Ruddington community in order to make suitable amends to our initial proposal and address concerns raised in connection with the development. We will continue to liaise with the council and local residents throughout the build process.”

Mr Brickley adds: “In addition to providing high-quality properties, the proposal will bring a range of additional benefits to the area including a community contribution in the region of £1.6m towards local education, highway provisions, transport links for the village, healthcare for Ruddington residents and library facilities. We hope to commence works soon and expect to see the first homes released for sale in May 2020.”

The overall build is estimated to take just over four years to complete.

An aerial view of the former Green Belt site as it is now (courtesy of Google Maps)

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