Plan for 4,500 houses at Top Wighay is implausible

I WONDER how many people believe that, without doubt, about 4,500 houses are to be built on Top Wighay Farm on the Hucknall boundary by Gedling Borough Council.

It is true that an article appeared in the Dispatch recently that had this number in the headline.

But in the body of the article, it clearly stated that this was the number necessary to make an extension of the tram system viable. One only has to look at the terrain to realise the difficulty of such a task.

The frequency of service would be reduced because of the extension of the single-track section, and road traffic in the area would become chaotic because of the level crossings at Linby Road and Wighay Road. I cannot see such an extension ever being built.

A quick search on Google for ‘Top Wighay Farm’ yields many interesting documents. One is from URUK, which has drawn up one possible plan. A single drawing shows the tram, many houses, a new school and playing fields. I could not see any shops, such as a supermarket.

The full report is not available on that website, so I can offer no details. But it is easy to draw up fancy pictures like this.

The crux is how much it will cost and how the surrounding area is affected. To me, this plan is as implausible as the Hucknall masterplan drawn up by URBED that would cost about £60 million in its entirety.

On the Gedling Council website can be found the ‘Greater Nottingham Aligned Core Strategies — Locally Distinct Housing Issues For Gedling Borough Council, July 2011’. This is almost unreadable because of the jargon but I picked up two useful pieces of information. Currently, the allocation for Top Wighay is 500 dwellings.

In addition, the regional strategy requires two-thirds of new houses to be built “within or adjoining the Nottingham Principal Urban Area (which, for Gedling Borough, is the built-up areas of Arnold and Carlton)”. Such a requirement, if adhered to, would prevent a large portion of the Gedling housing allocation being built at Top Wighay.

Whatever the number of houses is to be built, it is good that Hucknall has woken up at last to the threat posed by development of this land. The number or 4,500 houses is ludicrous. It is a small town and would require a completely new infrastructure.

The original proposal of 2,000 would be equally bad for Hucknall, as I pointed out in a letter as long ago as 2005.

But even 500, when added to the new Papplewick Lane development and any proposal by Broxtowe Borough Council on our boundaries, might stretch local resources to breaking point.



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