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Plumtree Parish Council has submitted the following response to Rushcliffe Borough Council's Local Plan Part Two where it affects development in Keyworth. (For further information please refer to the Local Plan on the Rushcliffe Borough Council website.)

The Council OBJECTS to the proposed residential development strategy for the following reasons:

1) Site Suitability

The majority of new development is proposed on the eastern side of the village. It is considered that the landscape character of this side of the village is more sensitive and of higher quality than the fringe land identified for potential development on the western side of Keyworth and sites to the west of the village can access key services more easily.

The Housing Site Selection Interim Report September 2017 (LP2) justifies the rejection of a number of sites on the western side of the village at para 6.31 by stating:

“Removal of additional land east (this should state ‘west’) of Keyworth (KEY09, KEY11, KEY12 and KEY14) has been ruled out due to the extent of urban sprawl that would occur, subsequent conflict with Green Belt policy, landscape impacts and/or their increased distance from the village centre.”

This statement is entirely illogical and demonstrates that the report has been written to fit the selection rather than preferred sites emerging from a proper assessment of merit.

i) Landscape – Site Key 9 appears as a logical extension to an existing urban area in a non-sensitive landscape area that would certainly create no greater impact than Key 10. If these sites were allocated Key 12 would be a logical rounding off site for a new envelope.  All sites under consideration including the proposed allocations are in the Green Belt so this statement of conflict is misleading.

The proposed Key 8 site extends beyond a clearly defined urban edge formed by Station Road and Platt Lane. The extension into prominent open countryside and attractive landscape beyond these roads is illogical when less sensitive sites are available to the west.

ii) Access to Key Village Centre Services  - The proposed residential areas on the eastern side of Keyworth are very remote from the village centre and principal retail and service facilities and are certainly more remote from the village centre than those to the west, so again the assessment makes no sense. The small parade of shops on Wolds Drive does not function as a local centre and occupants of the new residential development would not be able to walk to the main centre in the south western part of the village to access its post office health centre and other main facilities. This is particularly important in view of the high proportion of elderly housing proposed by the neighbourhood plan.

The flaw in the assessment is illustrated by the following Distances to Village Centre by Road/Footpath:

Allocated Sites Alternative Sites
Key 8 Station Road/Platt Lane 1.23km Key 14 South Bunny Lane 0.5km
Key 4a Nicker Hill 1.43km Key 11 South Debdale Lane 0.7km
    Key 9 Debdale Lane 1 1.12km
    Key 12 Debdale Lane 2 1.29km

2) Traffic Impact

The majority of traffic coming to and from Keyworth via Melton Road travels through Plumtree. This already causes significant adverse environmental impacts. The allocation of the majority of new residential development on the eastern side of the village will exacerbate this problem. It is highly unlikely that traffic will be diverted via Platt Lane as the plan suggests based on the current highway improvement proposals. Development on the western side of the village is more likely to gain access from Loughborough Road without having any adverse environmental impact on any neighbouring settlements.

3) Environmental Impact

The proposed area for residential development on the eastern side of Keyworth is classed as a nitrate vulnerable zone. The British Geological Survey holds an active pollution licence within this area issued in 2008 for radio-active substances. It is understood that there have been significant pollution events (ref. watercourse pollution 2002) in connection with the activities of BGS affecting the adjoining watercourse – which would impact on any new residential development in the area proposed for allocation. It is noted that the Council’s own study concluded that the location of residential development around BGS should be ‘carefully considered when assessing pollution risks in the area’.

Conclusion

For the foregoing reasons it is considered that Key 9 and 12 are considered for allocation in preference to Key 8 and 4a for the accommodation of the required 450 new dwellings. Residential development on the western fringe will have less adverse impact on the landscape, generate less traffic impact on neighbouring settlements and provide much better access to local facilities and infrastructure.

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