Local archers may soon have a new location to practice their sport if an application to Rushcliffe Borough Council (RBC) is successful – on green fields at the edge of Ruddington.
Wilford Bowmen are seeking permission to change the use of agricultural land east Of Wilwell Cottage, alongside Wilford Road, to house an outdoor archery range with a parking area for twenty vehicles, access gate, storage containers and toilet block. It would use the existing access off the B680 north of Ruddington into what is currently the last remaining farmers’ field between Ruddington and the City of Nottingham conurbation on the eastern side of Wilford Road. It is bounded by Ruddington Grange at its southern edge and the busy A52 Clifton Boulevard to the north east – beyond which is now the large Compton Acres housing development.
Applicant Will Barnard says: “The proposed archery range will be using the same ground levels as the existing field, with a new maintained grass surface covering the shooting range area. A new 7 rail metal field gate with new steel posts will be installed in line with the hedgerow to provide a secure locked barrier. It is intended for the new car park area to be a compacted hardcore base utilising the existing ground levels to allow natural drainage into the existing ditch along the road edge of the field.”
Wilford Bowmen currently shoot at Wollaton Park and Rushcliffe Arena – and are one of the longest established archery clubs in Nottinghamshire – being able to trace their roots back to ROF Archers, founded in 1948. However, the historic club has already announced it is “in the process of relocating” having been asked to vacate Wollaton Hall due to Nottingham City Council‘s ‘Transformation Project’ there.
On their proposed new venue, Mr Barnard continues: “It is intended to site a portable toilet block, with integral waste storage tank, close to the entrance of the field. This will allow easy vehicle access for emptying the waste storage tank at the required intervals. It is intended to site two steel storage containers along the road side edge of the range. These will be used for storing the archery targets, stands and equipment. They will be as close to ground level as practical, and painted a dark green colour to help mask their presence. They will be sited near an area of hedgerow currently 3.6m high to allow natural cover from the roadside view of the field.”
If planning permission is granted it is proposed the range would be available to club members from 9am to 9pm seven days a week. You can find Wilford Bowmen’s full application document >>HERE<<.
Given the amount of former green belt housing which has already impacted the fields around Ruddington as part of RBC’s Rushcliffe Local Plan Part 2, there is already growing local opposition to this idea. Whilst this application would be mainly ‘green space’, RUDDINGTON.info has already seen other printed plans (below) indicating that the applicants don’t intend to stop there. It seems the archery range may be part of much bigger plans to take the whole field out of agricultural use in the future – with a sports complex including hockey pitches, cafe, lake areas and more to be added – even including what looks like proposed housing along the southern edge.
Residents nearby fear this application could be just ‘the thin end of the wedge’ to enable further development of the precious, green field site. Graham Riche says: “It is of considerable concern to myself and local residents that an application to site an Archery Range on the field opposite Willwell Cottage, Wilford Rd, will further ‘eat in’ to the village boundary – thus leading to the absorption of Ruddington into the suburbs of Nottingham. How has this green belt land become a site of interest to the club – and who is proposing other sporting facilities, and possibly a housing development?”
Karen Edwards agrees: “I think enough is enough regarding using green belt around Ruddington for yet more building, whatever the purpose. It has to stop. We will soon be joined up to everywhere as they are using up every single green space. I am sick of it and it is ruining our village! I don’t think they care or listen though.”
Another neighbour, who preferred not to be named, adds: “If these really are the plans for the future of the field then there should be a full consultation around this – and proper consideration given that this is supposed to be protected, green belt land!”
Local residents have arranged onsite meetings with Ruddington’s three Borough Councillors and the Planning Officer to share their concerns – as well as managing to get RBC’s consultation deadline pushed back by almost three weeks to give villagers more time to read through the proposals and express their views.
Full details of the initial application for only the Archery Range 22/00622/FUL can be viewed >>HERE<< on RBC’s planning portal – with public comments about it being welcomed >>HERE<< by the extended deadline of Thursday 19th May 2022.