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West Bridgford
Monday, September 16, 2019

Canal apartments: Community resistance continues over plans

PUBLISHED:

Strong resistance from West Bridgford residents against plans to demolish a bungalow and replace with a new build 10-apartment block next to the Grantham Canal towpath at Lady Bay are continuing.

The application was submitted by Stagfield Ltd of Nottingham on 8th November 2017.

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At this point ( 10 Feb ) the plans have 105 objections and 4 supporting comments on Rushcliffe Borough Council’s planning website.

  • The rear of the bungalow sits next to the canal, and the front of it is on Kendal Court at its opposite elevation. ( see maps, images and video ).

The current view of the canal towpath where the planned apartment block would be built. The bungalow and the area where the hedgerow was removed can be seen – the video has closer views.

An impression of how the development might look

Local residents are angry that a hedge reported to be 50 years old, was removed by the landowner in readiness for the build, before planning permission was lodged, and they say that they will continue to fight against plans for the apartment block to be built.

It is expected that the proposals will come before Rushcliffe Borough Council’s Development Control Committee in March, but that is yet to be confirmed.

The community have erected signs to enlist local support at several points around Kendal Court, and Radcliffe Road at the gates to the towpath.

A resident who lives nearby and is part of a voluntary group effort to keep the canal clean said:

‘The hedgerow next to the bungalow has already been removed by the developers way before anyone knew about the proposed development and against advice from the preliminary ecological report the developers have submitted.’

In a BBC Nottingham interview this week, landowner Richard Posner agreed to reinstate the hedge.

Mr Posner says that the development is suitable for the canal, because there is housing along the towpath already, and that in fact ‘it is the bungalow that doesn’t fit into the current scheme‘ he says that the Kendal Court buildings are maisonettes, and therefore apartments in a block are a fitting addition. He has now agreed to replace the hedgerow with suitable planting.

In the interview residents including Christine Ellison, said that the hedge was there long before the bungalow, and vigorously opposed plans for the new apartment block, citing parking problems, a spoilt beauty spot enjoyed by many, and the likely negative affect on the wildlife in the area.

According to The Grantham Canal Society – the canal is classified as a rural canal, Mr. Posner suggests that it is in fact an industrial canal, through a built-up suburb, and therefore is subject to development that doesn’t spoil its amenity.

Mr. Posner was contacted by ‘phone by West Bridgford Wire and had a short call when this earlier article was published, but because of time constraints a conversation didn’t happen. We’ll follow this up again.

Kendal Court

The residents would also like to thank Councillor Liz Plant for her guidance and advice.

We’ll update when a meeting agenda is released for the Development Control Committee.

A spokesperson for the Canals and River Trust said:

It is correct that the Trust has commented, as part of our comprehensive response to the Council on this application, that the overall mass, height and form of this proposed development appears appropriate and seeks to engage with the canal. Our full response is available on the Council’s website. The Council will take it into account, along with all other representations made, when making its decision on this application.’

A response from Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust to a slight amendments in the plan says:

‘Thank you for re-consulting Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust on the above application. We have reviewed the revised plans and have the following comments.

‘We welcome that the site plan has been amended to include a reinstated hedgerow along the canal side boundary. Plans appear to show that this would be planted with species advised by the applicant’s ecologist for maximum biodiversity benefit. Early reinstatement of this boundary hedgerow would go some way to addressing our concerns about the potential impact of the proposal on the ecological functionality of the Grantham Canal LWS corridor.

‘However, despite the revised plans we remain concerned about the proposed layout. Whilst a boundary hedgerow has been added, the proposed new buildings (in particular the eastern block) appear to lie immediately adjacent to the hedgerow. In order for the new hedgerow to thrive, it would need adequate space and light on both sides. We believe that the location of the proposed buildings could impede the hedgerow, resulting in a weakened ecological corridor. We are also concerned that there would likely be conflict with new residents regarding the height of the hedgerow. We have seen examples elsewhere in the Borough where residential amenity has been impeded by hedgerow growth, leading to the hedgerow being managed to a lower height than we would expect for a valuable ecological asset.

‘In addition, the proposed elevations show windows overlooking the canal side with a low hedge providing no buffer from light and/or noise pollution. As previously stated, we are concerned about the impact of light pollution on foraging bats.

‘A detailed Landscaping Plan has not yet been provided, so we are unable to comment on whether our concerns in this respect have been addressed

‘In summary, we remain concerned about the impact of the proposed development on the ecological connectivity of the adjacent LWS. The proposed layout does not allow for development and maintenance of a robust ecological buffer between the buildings and the canal side which would protect from noise and light pollution. We therefore wish to maintain our objection to this application.’


Some examples of objections below, broadly most deal with the same concerns:

The plans are here 

‘I spend some of my time as a volunteer for the Grantham Canal Society (GCS). A good deal of my voluntary work for the GCS is spent as canal ranger.
The main task of a canal ranger is to observe and report on the condition of the canal and its immediate surroundings. For example, water quality (depth, flow, condition), wild life, vegetation (natural or invasive), towpath condition, litter, dog fouling, damage to hedges, fences, dangerous overhanging trees etc. Canal rangers and the information they gather are a valuable asset to the GCS and to the Canal and River Trust (CRT) as relevant information gathered is passed on to the CRT.
Whilst out and about on canal ranger duties they spend a good deal of time meeting and talking to the general public who use the canal for leisure activities. Because my allocated canal section passes through the Lady Bay and Gamston areas I meet many of the people who live in those areas and use the canal towpath frequently.
It should be remembered that the canal is over 200 years old and that a very great injustice was served on it in more recent years when road construction cut the canal in the West Bridgford area into several short isolated ribbons of water. Seemingly modern and progressive, like so many other actions of this nature, it was short sighted and resulted in the almost complete loss of a valuable resource. The GCS aim to redress this and, one day, it will succeed in connecting the canal back to the River Trent. One possible option for the start of this new connection lies almost directly opposite the proposed development.
To replace the existing single storey dwelling with 3 storeys of close packed housing is another similar step in the direction of destroying the resource that is the Grantham Canal and its surroundings. I object to the proposed planning application on the following grounds.

1. The proposed development is far too large for the space available. It is in no way sympathetic to the existing dwellings in the immediate vicinity or to the canal itself.
2. The building is situated directly up to the canal towpath. The existing towpath hedge was cut down to ground level (without permission) to take away land from the canal bank in order to accommodate the proposed development.
3. Construction of the new dwellings would occupy the canal towpath for quite a considerable length of time during construction. This would almost certainly cause a great deal of inconvenience to the many walkers and cyclists who use the towpath. I also suspect the proposed works would cause a great deal of permanent damage to it the towpath and canal banking.
4. The very high buildings would cause a considerable reduction in the amount of light falling onto the canal. This could severely upset the delicate balance of nature in the locality.
5. The additional vehicular traffic created by the 10 proposed dwellings would lead to increased hazard and disruption for the traffic along travelling along the main road.’


I object in the strongest terms against this planning application for the following reasons:
– Impact on the environment. This development will have a detrimental effect on the diverse wildlife that dwell in and around the canal. The long-term effect of this is difficult to gauge, but the short-term impact could be catastrophic whilst the building works are in progress. I understand that kingfishers are one of the native species in residence and as an ‘amber status’ bird with less than 300 breeding pairs in the entire UK, this should be a major consideration.
– Overlooking and loss of privacy. This development will overlook not only my property when completed, but numerous other existing property in the vicinity.
– effect on the character of the neighbourhood. Replacing a single-storey dwelling with 2 two-storey buildings is not in keeping with the current character of the neighbourhood. This smacks of ‘garden grabbing’ and is very much against the change of approach outlined by the government in 2010 in the National Planning Policy Framework. The aim of this development is not to provide affordable housing in the area; this is purely about someone wanting to make a considerable profit with no consideration of the existing residents.
– Noise and disturbance. Notwithstanding the impact to the wildlife, this will cause considerable impact to the human residents of the locality whilst this building project is in progress.
– Highway safety. The additional 19 residencies this will create will cause additional vehicles to enter the carriageway on Radcliffe Road, at a point where there is a sharp bend. This will cause an increased risk of accidents for the new vehicles and for the existing road users.
I would also like to raise my concerns regarding the removal of the hedgerow that has already taken place at this address, I assume in preparation for the development commencing. As stated on Rushcliffe Borough Council’s website ‘Hedgerows represent some of the most important wildlife habitats in lowland Britain’. Regardless of whether any offence has occurred in removing this hedge, I believe this action is a very good indication of the mindset of the developer and their complete lack of consideration for the environment.

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