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Saturday, October 19, 2019

Ruddington under attack from dramatic increase in house-building, say protest groups


Two campaign groups in Ruddington have launched a new campaign to halt the sudden and sharp increase in house-building in their village.

Protect Ruddington and Ruddington Action Group hope to get support from many of the 7,500 village residents to object to the latest proposals.

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They say they have been driven to protest because their village is suddenly becoming engulfed with planned new housing estates. The majority of the homes in the pipeline will go on green belt land and be built over the next ten years.


They feel that the planning authorities are only paying lip service to residents who object. They are dismayed at how, despite objections from residents, Ruddington Parish Council, Rushcliffe Borough Council (RBC) and the county council’s highways department, the government’s Planning Inspector firstly overruled RBC’s planning refusal for a 175 home green belt development off Asher Lane then secondly overruled the council’s refusal of an alternative access to it via already congested estate roads.

Photo: Graham Wright

In May last year, Rushcliffe Borough Council had the opportunity to bring back down the total Ruddington housing allocation by removing another village green belt site from its draft Local Plan Part 2 before submitting it to the government’s Planning Inspectorate. However, it chose not to do this – and is instead now consulting on a ‘modified’ version of the plan where, if approved, Ruddington’s allocation will have shot up again from 350 to 525 houses.


Crucially, group members are concerned that all the extra developments will lead to increased traffic congestion in the High Street and village centre. They fear that necessary measures taken to deal with the extra vehicles, like traffic lights, would lead to on-street parking places being cut. This could then have a serious knock-on effect on trade for the scores of village retailers and businesses.


Mike Ader, who chairs Ruddington Action Group and has joined Protect Ruddington, said: “We understand that more houses need to be built for the region’s growing population, and accept that some should be in the village. We are mindful that Rushcliffe is under pressure to find places for these homes. But it seems to be out of control now.”


Jo Jagiello from Protect Ruddington said:”For many, it’s not about housing itself, it’s about appropriate numbers, appropriate sites and crucially appropriate infrastructure being planned. Most objections are around unnecessary loss of green belt when smaller brown fields are available – and the overburdened schools, GPs and services. All of the applications fail to address this and offer nothing in terms of improvements or sustainability.”


The latest application is to build 174 houses, over a third more than the proposed Rushcliffe Local Plan allocation of 130, on green belt land off Wilford Road, one of the key green gateways to the village. This is also flood plain land and the campaign groups want residents to object. Leaflets are going out to all Ruddington homes to explain more about the campaign.


In the original council Local Plan published in 2013, the number of new homes earmarked for Ruddington on green belt land was 250. This increased to 350 in Local Plan 2 and then up to 525 when the application related to land off Asher Lane was controversially and unexpectedly approved. Campaigners worry this figure could be nearer 700 if property developers are allowed to build even more houses on the green belt sites than allocated by The Plan. The total new housing figure would then increase to more than 1,000 if you count ‘infill’ areas where a couple of houses are built on former garden plots. Mr Ader said: “This is too much. We’ve had enough.”


There are fears that there could be gridlock in the centre of the village and worries that little or no consideration has been given to how the extra cars will move around.


Mr Ader said: “The proposal as a mitigation for Asher Lane for traffic lights on Kirk Lane junction may ease congestion to the main A60 but will hugely exacerbate traffic problems in High Street and threaten its very vibrancy.


“This set of traffic lights was approved without taking into account all the other proposed developments in Ruddington, plus the nearby Sharphill estate and the extra 3,000 homes going up near Clifton.”


The groups want the Borough Council and the various authorities to talk to each other effectively and commit to a detailed ‘holistic’ survey of infrastructure needs, traffic and parking in Ruddington to ensure that existing and potential new residents and families have adequate services and facilities around them.


Background to current planning applications


Wilford Road

The latest plan is for 174 houses on green belt land up to Packman Dyke – 44 more than in The Plan – by moving the dyke northwards and developing further adjacent green belt farmland (not in The Plan) into a flood mitigation scheme. Additional concerns relate to the now limited bus service here, and that Wilford Road is an attractive and ecologically important green gateway in from the north.


Flawforth Lane

Just last week the group learned that another plan to build 56 homes off Flawforth Lane had not been publicised village-wide and the deadline for comments and objections had passed. The Local Plan states only 50 homes here. Sixty 40-year-old silver birch trees on the edge of the development will be felled to squeeze in the extra houses.


Asher Lane

Over 600 people objected twice to plans for 175 houses off Asher Lane in 2016 and 2018. But it still went ahead. The housing development was turned down by the borough council, but the landowners appealed and the planning inspector overturned the decision. Now the planning inspector has overruled the borough council’s refusal again over road access. A house in Musters Road will be demolished to make a way through. But the group argues that no one seems to have taken into account that access to and from this site is via very narrow streets leading right into the heart of the village.


Mere Way

Some 180 homes are planned for arable farmland opposite Mere Way off the A60 – the Local Plan states 170.


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