The following is the text of a letter sent to all the Councillors on the Planning Committee.
I understand that the Planning Application referenced 14/00677/OUT will be discussed at the planning meeting on 20 July. I give a few reasons why you should reject the outline planning application to develop the site of the Bramcote Hills Golf Course for use as a continuing care retirement and specialist care community for the following reasons.
- I quote from a recent document published by Broxtowe Borough Council “Bramcote Hills Golf Club, Thoresby Road, Bramcote SITE REFERENCE: 127: “The site forms part of a Protected Open Area and a Prominent Area for Special Protection, as well as being protected as open space. It is steeply sloped with access problems and represents an original characteristic of the ‘Bramcote Hills’ area forming part of the prominent Bramcote Ridge. It is therefore considered to be unsuitable for development.” http://www.broxtowe.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=28453&p=0
- The proposed development would create a significant break in the Wildlife Corridor linking Wollaton through to Trowell and open fields beyond. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) indicates that good planning should conserve and enhance the natural environment.
- Conservative Liberal Democrat Coalition Agreement stated ‘We will introduce measures to protect wildlife and promote green spaces and wildlife corridors in order to halt the loss of habitats and restore biodiversity’
- The Wildlife Green Corridor helps provide clean air along the length of the corridor for the benefit and wellbeing of the residents who live within a wide area on either side of the corridor. This corridor also helps reduce the pollution created by the traffic on Derby Road and our other nearby roads.
- The proposed development would have an adverse impact on nature conservation and visual amenity. The applicant claims that the trees within and adjacent to the site would shield the development from those outside the development. Most of the trees are deciduous, therefore the visual shield would not be effective in winter.
- The proposed access off Deddington Lane would create a significant break in the historic hedgerow adjoining the Deddington Lane Greenway. This hedge is at least 300 years old and is publicly owned and should not be breached.
- Within the applicant’s ‘Planning Statement’ there is suggestion that the Planning Inspector’s decision to allow an appeal for housing at Hempshill Vale may be used as a precedent due to ‘similar’ circumstance. The Broxtowe Planning Officers have also used this decision as a reason to recommend approval of the application. We maintain that the circumstances pertaining to each site are significantly different in that;
- The site at Hempshill Vale is not designated as a Green Infrastructure corridor and with Special Protection whereas Bramcote Ridge is defined as both.
- Bramcote Ridge has more Open Space Protection than Hempshill Vale.
- The inspector ruled that open nature of the site is compromised due to the future route of the tram through the site at Hempshill Vale. No such future proposals exist near Bramcote Ridge.
- In a recent court case ‘The judges were clear that this does not mean that any policy a Council may rely upon to refuse a housing proposal, in the absence of a five year supply of deliverable housing sites, should be set aside or even given very limited weight. The weight to be given will depend on the individual circumstances and is a matter for the decision taker. [In other words the 5 year supply rule should not out weight good planning principles.]
- The site topography and proposed roadway gradients would not be viable for use by people with mobility impairments. The proposal would have an adverse effect on the amenity and accessibility of the residents; particularly in relation to the intended use as a ‘retirement village’ where there is likely to be a high proportion of people with mobility issues.
- The 106 Agreement as suggested in our opinion is not adequate to cover the maintenance costs of the Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS) as it is well known that these systems are not very reliable.
- The Greater Nottingham Aligned Core Strategy Document defined the whole of the Bramcote Ridge, including the old Golf Course land, as a ‘Green Infrastructure Corridor’ with special protection.
- Within the documents that you are requested to study is a Wildlife Survey provided by the applicants. This survey did not find any Grass Snakes. We know that Grass Snakes have recently been found on the Land. The residents of Bramcote have also provided a Wildlife Survey that has been submitted to the Council. I include with this letter six of the many photographs provided by Bramcote residents when they helped provide information for their survey. These six photographs show a range of species – avian, mammalian and reptilian – that all utilise the golf course as a wildlife corridor, linking green belt areas and beyond with the neighbouring Alexandrina Local Nature Reserve and onto Wollaton Park. Breaking this linkage would have a significant impact for these and other species.
If this application is approved then the ‘Green Infrastructure Corridor’ would be broken and building within other places within it and in other areas of Protected Open Space and Green Belt would be at risk as this would set a precedent.
This application is for 100 dwellings, a relative small number, compared to the number required in total. This provides a small gain in the short term against the future of the whole ‘Green Corridor’ for hundreds of years for ours and future generations to enjoy.
The local population is overwhelmingly against this application.
For the above reasons we therefore urge, recommend and suggest that you should reject the application Referenced 14/00677/OUT.
Yours faithfully, Mike Johnson, Chairman of Bramcote Open Space Protection Group.
Below are the six photographs referred to at 12. above