Plan for hundreds of houses and new jobs to go on show

ALL CHANGE -- the plans will completely alter the historic Hucknall Aerodrome site
ALL CHANGE -- the plans will completely alter the historic Hucknall Aerodrome site

HUCKNALL people are being given a chance to air their views about a multi-million-pound masterplan for a huge section of the town’s Rolls-Royce site.

Nine hundred new homes are proposed and 100,000 square metres will be earmarked for a business park which may create up to 2,000 jobs.

A new community within Hucknall would be set up, including local shops, a neighbourhood pub, play areas and sports pitches, agricultural land and allotments, new footpaths and cycle paths — and even a new primary school.

A public consultation will take place on the Rolls-Royce site, with access via gate two, next Thursday and Friday, September 13 and 14, between 2 pm and 8 pm and on Saturday September 15 from 9 am to 1 pm.

A Rolls-Royce spokesman said an exhibition of the plans would be on display. He added that an opportunity would be created for the local community both to comment and seek clarification before a planning application was submitted to Ashfield District Council later in the autumn.

Rolls-Royce remains Hucknall’s biggest employer, with 800 people working at the Watnall Road plant, and its main business is the manufacture of aero-engine parts.

European funding will meet £7.5 million of the cost, with the lion’s share of the required finance coming from Rolls-Royce itself.

The Dispatch exclusively revealed earlier this year that the company had chosen nationwide regeneration specialist, Muse, as its development partner to drive the groundbreaking project forward.

Muse’s regional director, Dan Needham, claimed that the scheme had the potential to become ‘one of the biggest success stories in the East Midlands’. He stressed that the development would give Hucknall a tremendous boost in various ways in the coming years.

An access road is expected to be the subject of the first application, with the second for the industrial units and the third for the new homes, which is likely to be made in conjunction with a housing developer.

Coun Chris Baron, a Hucknall Labour member of Ashfield District Council, said he hoped as many residents as possible would take advantage of the consultation.

He had been in touch with tenants and residents groups and safer neighbourhood committees, while 4,500 leaflets were being distributed. “Everyone will be given the opportunity to have their say,” he stressed.

Coun Baron said the masterplan, which was a key part of the Ashfield Local Development Framework, struck just the right balance between housing and sustainable employment.

It would also mean much-improved public transport for the Westville area of Hucknall, where residents felt they had not received a fair crack of the whip up to now, he added.

Coun Baron said he wanted to see a doctors’ surgery provided in connection with the scheme because this was long overdue in Hucknall West ward. A suitable site for this needed to be identified. But he hoped the business park would do much to dispel any image of Hucknall being a township without jobs.

Coun Mick Murphy, a Hucknall Conservative member of Notts County Council, said that as a former Rolls-Royce employee, he was delighted with the ‘very ambitious’ plans, which were likely to prove of very great benefit to the town.

And Hucknall Conservative MP Mark Spencer added: “I have been broadly supportive of the plans. They will hopefully bring lots of employment to Hucknall people and that is really what it is all about.”

Mr Spencer said he was particularly pleased that the proposals would include a new school. “Hucknall parents have contacted me because they have not been able to get their youngsters into primary schools in the town,” he claimed.

The MP called on everyone in Hucknall to get behind the masterplan and said he was looking forward to attending the consultation himself.