Thursday 22 February 2024
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300-home development could be approved despite wildlife concerns

A major housing development in Nottingham consisting of nearly 300 homes could be approved, despite concerns from nature groups over the impact on wildlife.

Nottingham City Council, which owns the land with the sale pending, wants to transform the site which houses the former Padstow Secondary School, south of Eastglade Road in Gainsford Crescent, Bestwood.

The applicant, Countryside Properties (UK) Limited, wants to build 291 homes, which includes the demolition of part of the existing school as well as creating new roads and a public open space.

development site

The site was historically occupied by Padstow School and forms partially cleared areas of buildings and the former playing fields.

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The site is located within a residential area where properties are a mix of semi-detached and terraced homes.

The development would provide a mix of one, two, three and four bed properties, with 75 of the homes being affordable, which would be transferred to Nottingham City Homes on completion.

Concerns and objections about the development have been made by some groups, including the Friends of Sunrise Hill.

The group said: “We appreciate that there is a need for appropriate housing, but we feel that the plans, as they currently stand, do not do enough to consider environmental needs.

“We are extremely concerned about the impact on the wildlife and biodiversity on the site, and also the negative impact on the wildlife in Sunrise Hill – a designated LNR (Local Nature Reserve).

“We are extremely concerned that the disturbance caused by the building work will have a detrimental impact on this important habitat and the wildlife within it.

“We have stated at every consultation opportunity that the proposed ‘green corridors’ do not fit any description of a green corridor that most would recognise.

“They appear to be just clusters of trees alongside roads, not a practical solution to allow wildlife to travel freely and safely from Sunrise Hill, across the site and towards Southglade Park, as it can at present.

“I am very concerned about the impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of the community – the Friends of Sunrise Hill group has received plenty of feedback about this. I use this site every day and it is never empty – on weekdays, it is the commute to school for many families and commute to work for many people.

“It’s used by dog walkers, joggers, and at weekends and evenings, by many people for recreation – to enjoy the open space, the views of the city, to watch fireworks, to go sledging in the snow, to fly kites and have picnics.

“The loss of open space, and particularly green space containing flora and fauna, will have a detrimental impact on the wellbeing of many.”

Nottingham Open Space Forum also shared reservations about the plans claiming the site is an “important open green space” and the development does not reflect the needs of the local community.

Nottingham Wildlife Trust also had concerns stating that the application “fails to demonstrate that the proposed development will not result in an adverse impact on UK and Nottinghamshire priority habitats and priority species, as well as the fragmentation of a key wildlife corridor and ecological network”.

Planning officers at Nottingham City Council have recommended that councillors approve the application when they meet on Wednesday, April 20.

They believe much work has been done to cater for wildlife as part of the application.

They said: “Revisions have been made to the initially submitted layout and a 5m wide green corridor, which would be maintained by the applicant, introduced running north to south through the site.

“Green space would also be provided at the northern end of the site, the existing central tree belt retained and strengthened, an existing area of scrub vegetation retained on the western boundary and approximately 100m x 150m banked area retained towards Gainsford Crescent.

“The applicant has indicated that of the total site area approximately 25 per cent would be retained as open space.”

The plans would also require a financial contribution of £1.9m towards new and enhanced primary and secondary education facilities as well as £85,764 towards employment and training and provision of employment opportunities during construction works.

Councillors will decide the fate of the application at a council planning meeting on April 20.

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