You are on page 1of 7

Radcliffe on Trent Parish Council Extra-Ordinary Meeting: 7pm, Weds 11th Dec 3013, The Grange Hall A Radcliffe

Community Group Report In excess of 150 community members were present at the Radcliffe on Trent Extra-Ordinary Parish Council meeting (Weds, 11th December 2013) to contribute to the discussion surrounding William Davis Ltd.s plans to development the existing Greenbelt site at Shelford Road Farm site. Radcliffe community members were united in their concerns over the proposed plans to develop 400 houses within our village on the site that stretches from Shelford Road Farm to the railway line by the A52. Community in Action This report represents our account of that discussion, as unfortunately, a ruling made by the Radcliffe on Trent Parish Council denied us access for filming due to claims that the new ruling does not allow for filming at Parish Council meetings. This has meant that we have needed to take a little longer to produce this, as we collated notes taken at this meeting by members of our Radcliffe community. This is something that we intend to follow up with both Radcliffe on Trent Parish Council and Rushcliffe Borough Council, as once more it was brought up that members of the younger community in Radcliffe on Trent were not present at the meeting. As Radcliffe Community Group, we are already well aware that the timings of Radcliffe on Trent Parish Council meetings clash directly with the bedtime routine of young children, and as such precludes attendance of young families in the village who have become reliant upon us to circulate and disseminate information via social media and our public meetings. This account represents one such report. This is something that we have asked the Radcliffe on Trent Parish Council to take into consideration for the future. For those who were present, due to the tight time-frame and time of year that William Davis Ltd. submitted this application, this has meant that many were unable to read the documentation in full, which extends to hundreds of pages, in advance of the meeting. This was an issue that was raised by a number of members of the Radcliffe on Trent community. In addition, while the meeting was organised by the Radcliffe on Trent Parish Council, there was also attendance from villagers in Upper Saxondale and Newton who will also be impacted upon by this proposed development. In addition to our Radcliffe on Trent Parish Councillors, Cllr Neil Clarke (Rushcliffe Councillor for Trent Ward) and Cllr Kay Cutts (County Councillor for Radcliffe on Trent) were also present in order to garner opinion and represent the views of the Radcliffe on Trent community, and they reassured us that they would be taking those views back to Rushcliffe Borough Council on our behalf. The meeting itself extended the usual 15 minutes of public speaking time to an hour, however was extended further still as a result of additional contributions from both members of our local community and from Cllrs Clarke and Cutts. A number of key issues were raised, all of which relate directly to the future of our village, and each of these will be outlined in turn below. In this report we have tried to group the ensuing discussion into themes, in order to aid the clarity of the case which was made to our Radcliffe on Trent Parish Councillors by the members of the Radcliffe on Trent community. Protection of Our Greenbelt

An initial key issue to be raised was the concern for the future of our Greenbelt land at Radcliffe on Trent. While Cllr Clarke reassured those in attendance that the Greenbelt would be one such consideration that would be taken into account when the planning department assess the suitability of the planning application in question, it was stated that this was part of the normal course of consideration for a planning application of this kind. It was identified that a public consultation would take place next year (2014) in which Rushcliffe Borough Council will look at the future for development on the Greenbelt. Some residents felt that a decision on this particular planning application would be better to be postponed until after the Greenbelt review had taken place. This wider issue of the Greenbelt review surrounding the land at Radcliffe on Trent is something that we will follow up on in the New Year with Rushcliffe Borough Council and Radcliffe on Trent Parish Council. Concerns Surrounding the Development Itself There were a number of concerns raised which related directly to the development itself. These included a concern that the planning application did not provide detail on the types of housing that would be made available on the site, including the proportion of affordable housing or the provision of smaller retirement properties. While the development identifies the number of houses that they plan to build, they do not address the types of housing that a village like Radcliffe on Trent might need. Other issues which were directly related to the development related to the size, position and choice of a roundabout as the only access point to the site; with two arms of the roundabout feeding onto Shelford Road, and one arm feeding into the site. Concerns were raised over the location of the roundabout, which is situated directly opposite existing properties at the top of Shelford Road. With planned proposal for a roundabout at a diameter of 38 metres, it was felt that this would be a rather large imposition on the access to our village. In addition to this, it was felt that the proposed location, on the outskirts of Radcliffe on Trent, would not be amenable as an extension to the existing community. This was argued as the proposed 400 house development would largely exist in isolation to the rest of the village, with only one access point. Further to this, were the proposal successful in its application, concerns were raised that once the development was complete, it would be likely that any future proposals to build upon the land locked area between the railway line and the development would be more likely to be successful. Facing Future Flooding Another significant issue that came under discussion was that of drainage and the fears over the increased flood risk within Radcliffe on Trent. One Shelford Road resident identified how the proposed development at the Shelford Road Farm site, if successful, would have a huge impact upon everyone in the village. Identifying William Davies Ltd.s own Flood Risk Report and a letter dated 22nd August 2012, he highlighted how while Severn Trent were looking at 350 houses (not 400), they had already highlighted capacity issues at both the village pumping station and the sewage treatment works. Here he quoted section 5.1.26 of the report which identifies how There is not sufficient capacity at the sewage treatment works to accommodate flows from this development. It was also highlighted how pages 65-66 of this report have been withheld for internal use. This issue

was picked up on by Cllr Rodney Brears who asked how a fully-informed decision could be made if not all of the material was available. Representatives from William Davis Ltd. were present and responded to say that this was part of an ongoing consultation. If the planning application were successful it was suggested that capacity may need to be increased as a part of an agreement for planning permission to be granted. Their plan included the provision of drainage from the site, down the hill, and into the existing culvert on the land that they own at the bottom of Clumber Drive. However, Radcliffe residents are currently all too aware of the inability of this culvert to cope with the existing flow and this represents an ongoing concern, as we are also aware that our drainage facility in the village is frequently at capacity. After a few days of heavy rain, we are often left in a situation where there are numerous flood points in the village, including the bottom of Radcliffe on Trent Infants School drive on Bingham Road, as well as the cellars and gardens of numerous homes around the village. NB: Since this meeting we were invited to the home of one Radcliffe on Trent resident where the drainage culvert that the proposed site will be feeding into runs under his garden and garage. This site is now on the outlined section of land on the latest plan provided by William Davis Ltd. We will be posting a separate article on this issue in the near future. Concerns Over Increased Traffic The increase of traffic was a huge area of concern for the members of our community in Radcliffe on Trent; not only for the increased flow of traffic through the village, but the movement of construction traffic around the site and the wider impact that this will have upon the A52. Many who live down Shelford Road, and the 1000+ homes that feed onto Shelford Road for access to and from the village, were very worried about the increase in traffic that a development of this size would mean for our community. With 600-700 extra cars travelling down Shelford Road and through the village at peak times, it was felt that an application of this size and density was unviable in its current location. Many residents pointed out that it was already difficult to join Shelford Road in their cars safely. While another highlighted how according to the Transport Assessment documentation, there would be more traffic than there should coming down Shelford Road from the site. As a direct result, discussion arose concerning the potential for an A52 link road. Potential for an A52 Link Road? Some community residents felt that a link road to the A52 might resolve some of the immediate issues faced by the proposed development, particularly as it only has one proposed access point to the site. It was identified that to build a bridge across the A52, there would be a cost in excess of 1.5-2 Million, just for the construction of the bridge alone and not taking into account any of the other purchases of land or provision of infrastructure as necessary for its maintenance. One of our community members highlighted how a William Davis Ltd. representative discussed this as a possibility at their own community consultation in July 2013. However the representatives from William Davis Ltd. who were present at the Radcliffe on Trent Parish Council meeting maintained that they had no knowledge of what this representative had in mind during this discussion. While Radcliffe on Trent Parish Council highlighted their ownership of the patch of land between Bingham Road and the A52, they had considered that one plausible option might be to have a bridge

over the Bingham Road playing fields. However this suggestion was met with resistance as this would mean that South Nottinghamshire Academy would need to locate new land elsewhere for the siting of its sports facilities. At this point Cllr Cutts pointed out that the likelihood of crossing school playing fields for such a development would be highly unlikely. Her recommendation was to leave decisions of this kind to the Planning Department, explaining that her role was to represent the views of the people. While some members of the community felt that a link road would reduce pressure on Shelford Road and the village centre, others raised objection to the possible siting of a link road to the A52. This would mean an increased load on the A52, and further hamper access of Radcliffe on Trent residents from the Harlequin estate to gain access to the A52, or for those members already facing difficulties in joining the A52 from the Hudson Way estate. One Johns Road resident went on to point out that while the extra stress placed upon the A52 would impact upon the Harlequin estate residents, all of this traffic would eventually join the A52, so the problems would be evident and shared by all members of the Radcliffe on Trent community as the traffic to Nottingham would all travel through the village towards the RSPCA junction to join the A52. In addition to the fears over the link road pushing traffic out onto the already heavily congested A52, local residents expressed anger at the proposition of 8 years of construction and site traffic. 8 Years of Construction and Site Traffic With a proposed development of 400 houses and a predicted building schedule of 50 houses per year, Radcliffe on Trent faces 8 years of building, site and construction traffic, if this planning application is approved. In addition to the objections over the site and construction traffic, one Newton resident expressed immediate concern over the ability of the narrow roads to cope with the strain of such a development, and the construction and site traffic that would be necessary to access this. In addition, sending site traffic across Shelford Road top was not only highlighted as a dangerous pursuit, but it was identified how there is also currently a 7 tonne weight limit in existence on Main Street through Newton. With these vehicles travelling in and out of the site over Shelford Road tops out to Newton and back again, the fears of local residents concerned the safety of road users and cyclists across what is already notoriously dangerous stretch of road, with sheer drops, winding bends and concealed junctions. Access for Fire and Ambulance Services Already, as a community, we have seen an increase in accidents across the length of Shelford Road since the existing development of new houses at Newton village. With the addition of 400 houses this will only increase further. Access for our fire and ambulance services were raised as a key area of concern, as an ability to act fast and access sites where the emergency services are required can quite literally mean a different between life and death. In a recent Radcliffe Community Group meeting (Thurs, 5th Dec 2013) it was raised by a member of the ambulance service that problems had already been faced in accessing incidents due to the narrowness of Shelford Road and the volume of traffic using the route. Public Transport Provision

In addition to the concern for access for the emergency services, a number of residents highlighted the need for an increase in the available transport services to the village, including an improved bus and train service. Another community member identified how support for the buses had already been included within William Davies Ltd.s application and that the developers would be offering 300,000 investment to Trent Barton buses. However, it was asked whether it would be better to provide this money for something else of benefit to the community, as it was felt that the bus service would improve anyway due to the increase in demand. The provision for public transport is documented in the Transport Assessment document. However, with all of this in mind, it was identified how residents of the proposed site could not be forced to use public transport and the reality was that people would continue to use their cars and use the main routes through the village as a result. Safety of Pedestrians and the Lack of Existing Parking As an extension to the concerns about the traffic travelling to and from the site, a number of concerns were raised about the safety of cyclists and pedestrians (particularly the elderly, the registered disabled and children) along Shelford Road. The planning proposal identifies Shelford Road as the only route available for pedestrians to access the village from the proposed site. Further to this, one resident highlighted how there are 6 guide dog owners and other registered disabled residents within the Radcliffe community, while another highlighted the use of mobility scooters and the requirements for minimum road widths and people already parking on paths due to the lack of parking for the existing homes. It was also highlighted how delivery vehicles for the Co-op and other services down Shelford Road meant that there was frequently a bottle-neck at the Shelford Road end of the village. While some of these concerns relate directly to the safety of both road users and pedestrians, it was also highlighted as a major concern that the existing parking in Radcliffe on Trent does not accommodate the residents that it currently services. It was highlighted that the while the increase in houses in Radcliffe might appear to offer a potential benefit to the existing businesses in the village, many residents expressed how if unable to park, they would opt instead to do their shopping outside of the village at the supermarket. Concerns over the Doctors Surgery and Proposed School Provision In terms of other potential benefits offered by the proposed application, the provision of space for a health centre and primary school were identified during the course of the discussion. In the existing application, William Davis Ltd. make offer of space for a single form primary school and health centre, however it was pointed out that these suggestions did not offer a commitment and were subject to the need as assessed by the LEA and the NHS. Some caution here was warned of, as while the application makes the offer of the inclusion of these sites within the proposed development site, there has been no reduction of the 400 houses within the proposed development. Instead it was highlighted how the density of the housing on the site had been increased in the plan to accommodate this change. On the subject of the Primary School, Cllr Cutts, in her role as representative of the Rushcliffe community, highlighted how there is already sufficient room to develop the existing school sites

within the village and therefore the additional school site would not be necessary. Similarly when considering the Health Centre, it was identified by one of our local NHS workers that the provision of a health centre building alone would not support the need of the NHS to pay for the GPs who would be needed to man it. As such the inclusion of both the Primary School and the Health Centre within the proposed plans were called into question. In return, one resident asked the representatives of William Davis Ltd. what would happen if these facilities were not deemed necessary, to which their response was that a change to the application would be needed and then it would probably become housing again. At this point it was highlighted by another community resident that the imagery included in the application was based upon artists impressions and illustrative sketches and to note that no actual plan of the layout had as yet been confirmed. The general consensus amongst the community residents and Parish Councillors present was that the outskirts of the village was not a good place for health centre and school facilities, but that instead these should be at the heart of the Radcliffe on Trent community. It was raised that to have such facilities on the outskirts of the village would necessitate additional traffic up and down Shelford Road, as such adding to the existing traffic concerns already raised. Radcliffe is a Village and We Want it to Remain a Village Many members of the Radcliffe on Trent community recognised that any plans for large development in the village would be an emotive subject. However perhaps the most considered response to this challenge was presented by Sue Clegg, a member of both the Radcliffe on Trent Residents Association and the Radcliffe on Trent Community Plan Steering Group. Addressing the Radcliffe on Trent Parish Councillors, she made the following statement: Radcliffe is our village. And it is surrounded by Greenbelt. As of this moment, this day, its Greenbelt land and I think first and foremost, people will be very sorry to lose their Greenbelt, and I think thats where the beginning of this starts. If we put 400 homes, or 300 homes anywhere in the village, theres going to be a strain on the infrastructure of the village It needs a lot of looking into, a lot of care and thought and I am asking the councillors to do that, give it a lot of care and thought. Our Parish Councillors View Our Radcliffe on Trent Parish Council, responding to the request of one community member who wanted to know the Parish Councils position on this issue, each in turn explained their position in relationship to the proposed development. Our Councillors revealed their position as one of unanimous and resounding opposition to the planning application at this stage; many of our Councillors sited Greenbelt, location and lacking infrastructure as the primary rationale for their decision. We thank them whole-heartedly for their support on this issue, as consultants to the planning application process. So, What Next? In response to the requests from the Radcliffe community, as to what happens next and what the next course of action should be, both of our Rushcliffe Borough Council Representatives, Councillors Neil Clarke and Kay Cutts offered some insight into the next stage of the process.

Cllr Neil Clark as our representative for the Trent Ward at Rushcliffe Borough Council made the following statement which clarifies the process and the next steps that we need to take as a community, As a ward member I am left in no doubt as to the concerns of the residents and so as a Ward member I will ensure that all of those points are made in my consultation and I am sure that fellow Borough Councillors will be making their similar comments. That input goes into the ultimate decision by the planning committee and this doesnt preclude any one or all residents making their own separate individual comments to the planning department. And those will all go into making up the report which ultimately goes to the planning committee. He went on to reassure us, I will be representing the residents views to the Borough Council. However, he did reinforce how, when contacting the planning department, it would be better to make rational arguments around planning considerations, and that complaints about the loss of a wonderful view would not hold sway. Cllr Kay Cutts similarly extended her reassurance that she would take forward our concerns and ensure that they are heard. However she did warn us to be very careful about what we wish for and how an extension of infrastructure provision might very well open up the opportunities for further future expansion around our village. Thank Yous and Future Events In addition to thanking our Parish Councillors for their support and for our Rushcliffe Councillors Neil Clarke and Kay Cutts, for attending the Radcliffe on Trent Extra-Ordinary meeting and representing the concerns of our village community at Radcliffe on Trent, we would also like to thank all of our wonderful note takers who have contributed to the delivery of this report. We hope that Radcliffe on Trent Parish Council will reconsider granting permission for filming at future meetings so that we can get this information out to you in a more timely manner. Thank you also to everyone who was in attendance at Thursday evenings meeting, your comments have made a significant contribution to our case. The Radcliffe on Trent Residents Association have extended an invitation for anyone wishing to join them at their next meeting which is scheduled for the last Tuesday of each month. Their next meeting is scheduled for January and will be held at St. Marys Church Hall. It was also highlighted that the Rushcliffe Core Strategy Council meeting (Thurs 12th December) including the related documentation, was available online for interested parties to participate. This has been recorded and made available as an online webcast. This is available for six months at: An Audience with Our MP for Rushcliffe Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke Since the ROTPC Extra-Ordinary Meeting on Thursday, we have been to meet with our MP for Rushcliffe, the Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke. This meeting was largely positive and we will share the details of this discussion with you as soon as we are able.