Doubt over school as part of Rolls site masterplan

Rolls-Royce site, Hucknall
Rolls-Royce site, Hucknall

SOME Hucknall children are having to go to schools outside the town because there is an acute shortage of pupil places, it was claimed at a meeting this week.

Christa Bales, chairman of governors at Holy Cross Catholic Primary School, said she knew of Hucknall youngsters who were attending Hawthorne, Bestwood Village, and Annesley Primary Schools.

“I do not think a primary school proposed in the masterplan for the Hucknall Rolls-Royce site will be big enough,” she claimed. “I have met a sobbing parent with five children at five different schools begging for places for her youngsters at Holy Cross.”

The meeting, held at Holgate Comprehensive School, Hucknall, was organised by the town’s Reach Out residents’ group to enable residents to be given information about the masterplan for a huge part of the Rolls-Rolls site (pictured).

The proposals are for a new estate of 900 new homes and a business park which could create up to 2,000 new jobs.

Representatives of Rolls-Royce and one of the country’s leading regeneration specialists, Muse — which is helping the company to carry the scheme forward — attended the sometimes stormy meeting.

Dan Needham, of Muse, denied that the proposed school would be too small. But there was general disbelief among the 60 people present when it was claimed that the developers were working on the basis that there would be one child per four homes.

The meeting was told that Rolls-Royce had been in discussion with Ashfield District Council about the future of the site since aero-engine testing ceased to take place there a few years ago.

Robert Orgeill, of Rolls-Royce, said: “We see the masterplan as an opportunity to bring forward much-needed employment land and a new residential community, as well as opening up green belt land which is not currently accessed. It would be a sustainable mixed-use development.”

A planning application for the masterplan, to be submitted to Ashfield Council, has still to be finalised and an assurance was given that it would be widely publicised at the appropriate time.

Two entrances would be provided to the new estate off Watnall Road and a new road would be built off Hucknall bypass for the Rolls plant and business park. Traffic to and from the housing and industry would be kept separate.

A man at the meeting said he was not against the masterplan in principle but he was very concerned about the extra traffic it would entail. He pointed out that there was already gridlock at the Bulwell end of the bypass at peak times.

Stephen Yeats, of Muse’s transport department, replied that there would be a detailed traffic assessment in conjunction with Notts County Council.

Another man said: “The underlying question is whether Hucknall wants or needs 900 new homes. Does everybody in the town want an increase in the size of Hucknall and more urbanisation?”

The Rolls-Royce and Muse speakers stressed in reply that the aim of the masterplan was to help Hucknall grow in a well-balanced and positive way.