A full planning application to build 174 new homes on agricultural land west of Wilford Road in Ruddington has now been submitted to Rushcliffe Borough Council (RBC).
The proposals will come as no surprise to most local residents, since the area (formerly known as RUD01 and now referred to as Policy 6.1) has long been targeted by Bloor Homes – with discussions taking place between the property developer, Oxalis Planning and Ruddington Parish Council (RPC) as far back as December 2014.
Originally RPC proposed to sell off Sellors’ Playing Field to accommodate further housing, but a vigorous local campaign co-ordinated by Ruddington Community Association persuaded the Parish Council to change its mind. RUD01 subsequently became one of the areas Rushcliffe planners deemed suitable for housing when they published their original Rushcliffe Local Plan Part 2 in May 2018 – but with the covenanted recreation ground removed.
Application 19/01287/FUL submitted by Oxalis Planning Ltd is for “Residential development of 174 new homes on land south of Packman Dyke together with associated infrastructure, including ground remodelling for flood compensation works, landscaping and public open space, and vehicular access via Wilford Road. Watercourse realignment, ground remodelling and other sustainable drainage measures, landscaping and public open space on land north of Packman Dyke.”
Last month RBC released yet another consultation document on “Proposed Main Modifications to Local Plan Part 2” which formally increased Ruddington’s Green Belt Housing Allocation from 350 to 525 new homes by officially adding Policy 6.4 – Land at Asher Lane (formerly RUD07) to the total (as shown on the map below). However the suggested housing allocation for Wilford Road in this Plan is 130 – whereas this planning application on behalf of Bloor Homes is suggesting 174 dwellings could be accommodated here.
To achieve its plans with this larger than designated number of houses means Bloor Homes will have to convert a substantial amount of further agricultural land north of Packman Dyke (which is owned by the property developer but not included in Rushcliffe’s Local Plan Part 2) into a managed flood plain for the new estate AND, additionally, move the existing dyke further north.
Another map submitted with the application (above) shows the type of properties planned for the site, which would be a mixture of bungalows, 2 storey and 3 storey (dorma style) houses. Out of the 174 dwellings, none would be classed as “Starter” homes, 30 would be “Social, Affordable or Intermediate Rent”, 22 would be “Affordable Home Ownership” whilst the rest (122) would be “Market Housing” – that’s larger family properties with 3, 4 or more bedrooms.
Despite the area of land South of Packman Dyke being included in Rushcliffe Borough Council’s Local Plan Part 2, village campaign groups say submitting these full plans is premature – given that The Government’s Planning Inspectorate has still not given the go-ahead to rescind The Green Belt here. At a public hearing on December 4th last year, many people again spoke out about the unsuitability of this land for building, given its history of flooding, its importance as a village gateway, proximity to the West Bridgford/Wilford conurbation and it no longer being required to fulfil Ruddington’s Green Belt housing “quota”. Ruddington Parish Council asked the Planning Inspector to remove this site from Rushcliffe’s Local Plan – a view shared by Protect Ruddington and Ruddington Community Association. Concern was also expressed that these latest Bloor Homes proposals talked of 170 homes for the site – whereas only 130 were proposed by Rushcliffe.
However, Bloor Homes says it has been listening to residents’ concerns during the two public consultations, the last one being in December 2018 at St Peter’s Rooms, and promises it will:
- Retain an area of open land to the north, to maintain the separation gap along the northern edge of Ruddington. This will incorporate flood alleviation features, ecological grassland and improved wildlife habitat areas as well as providing opportunities for informal recreation;
- Incorporate a footpath circuit within the new open space for informal recreation, with links to the surrounding communities to the north and south;
- Provide an attenuation basin on the northern edge of the site to manage water run-off from the site;
- Realign the watercourse (Packman Dyke) to create room for the attenuation basin and create an attractive feature along the northern edge of the proposed development;
- Use tree planting along the northern edge of the proposed development, to tie into existing tree and vegetation corridors surrounding the site and help to soften the impact of the proposed buildings when viewed from the north;
- Arrange proposed housing to positively address the northern edge, fronting out on to the adjacent open space;
- Raise levels on the site to remove the proposed development area from within the flood zone and shed water run-off to the north – away from the existing settlement edge;
- Provide a singular vehicular access directly off Wilford Road, corresponding with the underlying pipeline and easement;
- Arrange new housing to positively address Sellor’s Field and provide informal overlooking; and
- Respond to adjacent properties and boundaries – specifically by only building single storey properties at the southern edge of the new development.
You can read the full Design and Access Statement >>HERE<<.
A spokesperson for Protect Ruddington tells us: “We are still against any housing here and remain hopeful this land will not be removed from Ruddington’s Green Belt. If it is released by the Planning Inspector, then RBC must completely reject Bloor’s attempts to squeeze in 174 houses. This is ridiculous and can only be achieved by diverting Packman Dyke to accommodate a balancing pond and flood plain. Therefore they are actually ‘developing’ further precious Green Belt farmland to the north which is not part of Rushcliffe’s Local Plan Part 2 . This ‘flood alleviation’ scheme should be taking place within the designated site boundaries and the housing numbers reduced back to 130 accordingly. Even then, raising the land around Sellors’ Playing Field would inevitably cause surface water to run off into it and make it unusable for half of the year. That is NOT where we want Ruddington’s new swimming pool! We are also unconvinced the revised, eastern housing alignment shown on the plans means a clear outlook of fields from along Wilford Road will be preserved.”
Mike Ader of Ruddington Action Group comments: “When will it stop?! Developers are looking to cram in yet more and more dwellings in to Ruddington to the detriment of the village………it should not be acceptable to the Rushcliffe planning authorities! We were originally required to accept around 350 dwellings in Ruddington but now, with the Asher Lane development incorporated into the Local Plan (after the inspector unexpectedly approved it on appeal), this has now gone up to 525 dwellings. We thought that was it, but we now see that the c.130 dwellings originally proposed by Bloors on the Wilford Lane site (as included in the Local Plan as part of the 350) is now up to 174 in their latest and most recent submission, taking the overall number up to an outrageous 569! This means another 44 households – yet more pressure on our already overburdened schools, health facilities and village roads. It has to stop – let your voices be heard.”
On Twitter, Ruddington Community Association points out: “This is only six fewer houses than the 180 Bloor’s proposed when Sellors’ Field was still being included! Please go online asap to their planning website and tell @Rushcliffe to throw out these speculative proposals to cram in 174 properties!”
Indeed, if property developers were to be granted the same 34% increase in housing density across all our allocated Green Belt sites, that could potentially see Ruddington getting around 703 extra houses on our countryside, rather than the 525 allocated in the latest Rushcliffe Local Plan!
Ian Wilson of Ruddington Green Party says: “We continue to be concerned at the unnecessary loss of farmland given the health of our food soil. If the development goes ahead, the Travel Plan in the application is misleading because it is out of date. Nottingham City Transport’s early morning, evening and Sunday Navy 3 buses along Wilford Road were withdrawn in January. From the location of the proposed housing it’s a very long walk to catch a tram at Ruddington Lane or the Green 10 bus from the village centre. Inevitably that will mean new residents choosing to use their cars or needing to book taxis for many of their journeys, rather than take public transport. This is not what Ruddington nor our climate emergency needs!”
As well as exceeding the Rushcliffe Local Plan Part 2 site allocation by more than a third, this large number of houses also seems to be at odds with Government Planning Inspector Nick Fagan‘s report on the proposed site in May 2018 which read: “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 2 and 3.”
You can see all the documents associated with this Wilford Road planning application >>HERE<<. Villagers with concerns about these plans are urged to submit comments to Rushcliffe Borough Council planners via their online portal >>HERE<< by the consultation deadline of Thursday June 27th 2019.
Ruddington Parish Council is considering its response to this planning application at its next full meeting on at 7.30pm on June 25th, alongside its response about the 56 houses off Flawforth Lane. As usual, members of the public will be able to attend this meeting, to have their say on these and other agenda items.