Hucknall housing plans are overwhelming the town

Reach Out Residents meeting, Holgate School, Hucknall.
Reach Out Residents meeting, Holgate School, Hucknall.
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The west of Hucknall is being ‘bombarded’ with three major development plans, it was claimed at this week’s meeting of the town’s Reach Out residents group.

First, there is the controversial proposal for 900 new homes and a business park on a large section of the Rolls-Royce site off Watnall Road.

Second, an energy park is planned for derelict allotment land in the nearby Blenheim Lane area of Bulwell.

And third, the HS2 high-speed rail project would pass as close as 175 metres to one house in Hucknall.

“It looks as if we are being overwhelmed,” one resident has commented.

As at a public meeting at Holgate Comprehensive School, Hucknall, last month, strong opposition was expressed to the Rolls-Royce plan.

The scheme is due to go before Ashfield District Council’s planning committee on Thursday 20th June 20.

Reach Out has agreed to form a sub -group to look further into the details and possibly to obtain legal representation.

Claims were made that despite two public meetings with Rolls-Royce and the development company, MUSE, the road layout had apparently been agreed without Reach Out being consulted.

The group’s chairman, Sally Wyatt, said the impact on infrastructure had not been addressed. She claimed the roads would be totally unable to cope with the influx of traffic, while proposed changes could well make it worse.

It was reported that Nottinghamshire County Council’s highways department had been invited to this week’s meeting to discuss the road issues but nothing had been heard from them.

Access is proposed via Watnall Road for the new homes and by a new road off Hucknall bypass, served by a roundabout, for the business park.

Traffic lights are planned at the Nabbs Lane/Watnall Road junction, the Nottingham Road end of the bypass and the Moor Bridge traffic island in Bulwell.

Geoff Thorpe, a former member of Ashfield Council, lives on Farleys Lane and claimed that the roundabout would be so close to his home that it would ‘sit at the bottom of my garden’.

He told the meeting: “We have enough houses in Hucknall. Developers are struggling to sell new homes in the Garden Road and Papplewick Lane schemes.

“The same goes for industry, with units previously earmarked for this purpose in the Hucknall area lying derelict.”

Coun Chris Baron, a Labour member for Hucknall West on Ashfield Council, said the town needed good-quality, sustainable jobs and he thought the Rolls-Royce plan struck a good balance between employment and housing.

The energy-park plan has been submitted by Chinook Sciences Ltd to Nottingham City Council. It entails converting commercial and industrial waste into clean energy in the form of electricity by a gasification process.

The city council’s deputy leader, Coun Graham Chapman, has stressed that such schemes need to meet with safety standards set by the Environment Agency.

Coun Baron said the HS2 plan, hitherto a closely-guarded secret, had come as a big shock, particularly to people who had bought houses near the proposed route.

He pointed out that the scheme would take 20 years to develop. It would create much-needed construction jobs but Hucknall rail users would not benefit because the nearest stop would be at Toton.

When the trains pass along the town’s western edge, it would be with a woosh -- at a speed of 260 mph.

Coun Baron thought the proposed route should be on the other side of the M1, where there was little housing development.

He said Ashfield would have a single consultation and Hucknall people needed to be kept well in the picture.