Housing ‘would destroy open space oasis’

A PROPOSAL to release land that was formerly a part of a colliery site for new housing in Bulwell has been slammed by the town’s MP as destruction of an “oasis of tranquillity”.

Nottingham City Council is currently going through the process of identifying plots that can fulfil a predicted need for 17,000 new houses by 2028.

Several sites have been earmarked in Bulwell, including the former Henry Mellish Comprehensive School on Highbury Road.

But the largest is the Stanton (ex-Babbington Colliery) tip off Cinderhill Road.

A consultation on the proposals is runniing until Monday November 21. Feedback from the public will underpin the next stage of the process, which is known as the Local Development Framework (LDF).

Details of the size of the plot or how many houses it could accommodate have yet to be released.

But Bulwell’s Labour MP, Graham Allen, has hit out at the Stanton proposal, which he says has become a haven for wildlife and a key open space for young people.

He told the Dispatch: “I appreciate the need for housing. There is a shortage, which is getting worse, so a strategy needs to be found,

“But we have lots of housing in Nottingham North (Mr Allen’s Parliamentary constituency, which includes Bulwell). It’s jobs we need on any spare land in the area to restore the balance now that the big industries — coal, textiles, bicycles etc — have gone.

“This site is one of the very few substantive areas of open land within my constituency. Unlike a great deal of Green Belt further out, this has public access. It is also a designated Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC). There has been a great deal of appropriate tree-planting since Babbington Colliery shut.

“This area is enjoyed by many who live in the surrounding homes. From the top, you can get a wonderful panoramic view across the whole city, to the Vale of Belvoir and the Derbyshire hills.

“Youngsters who would otherwise have nowhere to go enjoy cycling, exploring, informal games and just hanging out with their friends in open spaces. We have little enough open space in Bulwell. Let’s not lose this.”

“The report acknowledges that we have little Green Belt within the city.

“Perhaps some, if not all, of this could be designated as Green Belt to compensate for any lost further out.

“We shall lose most of our green land, while neighbouring authorities, such as Broxtowe, will retain more than 99% of its Green Belt.

“Building houses here would inevitably cause mayhem on the local-road infrastructure, which is unable to cope as it is already.

“I have written to Eric Pickles (local government minister), questioning his national proposals, and I shall be making strong representations to the local planning authority over this.”