Goodbye Green Belt Number Three

As strict Government instructions to “stay home, save lives and protect the NHS” do not seem to apply to construction workers, there is to be no delay with earth moving machines starting a third, former Green Belt housing development in Ruddington.

Within the last few days, residents along Brookside Road and Brookside Gardens with properties on the boundary of the fields west of Wilford Road have all received hand-posted letters from Paul Baker of C3 Construction. This is the company contracted by Bloor Homes to commence the work on its new, 167 property housing estate. It advises that this work is starting today (Monday 11th January 2021).

Householders are reassured: “During this time we will endeavour to work with yourselves as much as possible and keep disruption to a minimum. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause” says Mr Baker, adding “We appreciate your co-operation with this matter.”

One of the campaign groups’ flyers

Understandably, up until now, neighbouring residents have not felt very co-operative about getting this property developer’s plans approved – especially when Bloor Homes applied for 174 houses on land designated for only 130 due to its well documented flooding issues. Village campaign groups, Ruddington’s Labour Borough Councillors and Ruddington Parish Council all expressed grave concerns about the suitability of the Wilford Road site for any housing due to it being an effective flood plain, as well as an attractive, rural, village gateway on Green Belt land.

Campaigns were fought, flyers distributed, consultations completed and hundreds of residents’ objections submitted over the years. However, over time, as even with the most controversial Ruddington development at Asher Lane, these arguments were all dismissed. Eventually planning permission was granted by a Government Planning Inspector (in the case of Asher Lane) and Rushcliffe Borough Council (for the other three) as part of the authority’s Local Plan Part 2 allocation.

A flooded Packman Dyke running through the fields which are now to be built upon

In the end, the only major concession won by campaigners at Wilford Road was to save Sellors’ Playing Field – meaning Bloor Homes must now build around it, rather than on top of it! Apart from the obliteration of many current residents’ rural views, the main ‘disruption’ and ‘inconvenience’ nearby householders are likely to face in the forthcoming years is the dust, noise and vibration created during the protracted, construction process. To add to existing residents’ anxieties, another letter (from JMS Group) has been hand-delivered today to properties adjoining the site to carry out a “Dilapidation Survey” on behalf of Bloor Homes.

One concerned householder told “This implies that Bloor’s work on the site might potentially cause structural damage to our existing houses?!” whilst another vulnerable resident commented: “In these serious, COVID times it is not reasonable for strangers to be accessing people’s homes, especially when we can see workers congregating across the field and not even wearing any masks!”

As shown by the ‘build phasing’ map below, the first stage will be gradually to move a massive amount of soil from the northern field and deposit it on the southern field to raise the level of this land to a ‘development plateau’. Part of the lowered field to the north of a realigned Packman Dyke will then become a ‘flood compensation area’ and, eventually, a ‘wildlife meadow’ – with footpaths and planting of native species promised in the plans. As with Bloor Homes’ Marl Close properties, it is anticipated that most of the new dwellings (all 167 will be south of the dyke) will require deep piling before construction, in order to prevent them sinking into the former flood plain in years to come.

The streets of the new estate – which bizarrely is to be called ‘Fairham Green’ – are to be named Cross Close, Dalby Close, Hind Avenue, James Gardens, Price Gardens and Rumsby Place. The last homes to be built here will be bungalows along the south western boundary, although their foundations are planned to be 1.25 metres above those of existing properties.

Campaign group Protect Ruddington has Tweeted: “We knew this was coming. But that doesn’t make it right.  Let’s hope this misguided planning approval by @Rushcliffe – given the nod by  @PINSgov & @EnvAgency – doesn’t lead to #flooding misery for residents in years to come, once extreme weather events become commonplace.”

Meantime, Bloor Homes has applied to erect two large signs alongside Wilford Road to advertise its forthcoming development at Fairham Green, south of Clifton. You can comment on this application 20/03246/ADV via the RBC planning portal up until Monday January 25th 2021 >>HERE<<.

The new development area west of Wilford Road

One of the planning conditions imposed is that all heavy construction traffic must enter and leave the site north via Wilford Road, rather than going through Ruddington village centre. It’s hoped this will avoid adding to the congestion already occurring due to lorries accessing the Asher Lane development.

Of course, Wilford Road is just one of the four major housing estates contributing to the total of 588 homes approved, and already starting to be built, on former Green Belt land around Ruddington. Avant Homes’ ‘Wilbur Chase’ development north of Asher Lane and William Davis Homes new estate on ‘Land East Of Loughborough Road’ are already under construction.  Linden Homes now has full planning permission for further housing on the former Ecoplants site off Flawforth Lane which is also expected to be started soon. These are all before The Greater Nottingham Strategic Plan‘ might potentially add thousands more new homes to Ruddington’s housing total by 2038.

Residents may be forced to accept that the day when Ruddington becomes just another suburb of Nottingham, rather than a Nottinghamshire village with distinct boundaries, is drawing ever closer.

The four, former Green Belt housing sites approved in Rushcliffe’s Local Plan Part 2

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