First of 131 factory-built homes arrive in Arnold for Rolleston Drive development

The first of 131 off-site manufactured low-cost homes have been installed this week in Arnold.

Six modules were craned into place as part of the first phase of the Birch Fields development on Rolleston Drive, which will be owned and managed by housing provider Jigsaw Homes Group.

Rolleston Drive homes Arnold
PICTURED: An artist’s impression of the new homes on Rolleston Drive
Rolleston Drive in Arnold
PICTURED: The site had become derelict after council offices were ravaged by fire

Each house is being precision-engineered by modular housing pioneer ilke Homes at the company’s 250,000 sq. ft factory in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire.

The Homes England-backed development will deliver 45 two-bedroom homes, 73 three-bedroom homes and 13 four-bedroom homes. 

A total of 46 homes will be available through shared ownership from Snugg Homes, part of Jigsaw Homes Group. The remaining 85 for low rent will be managed by Jigsaw Homes Midlands and allocated to local people by Gedling Borough Council.

This scheme aims to bring more sustainable housing to the East Midlands.

Thanks to precision-engineering techniques, the homes will achieve at least a ‘B’ EPC rating, making them some of the most energy-efficient in the region and meaning residents will benefit from cost savings on energy bills.

It is Jigsaw’s first foray into delivering factory-built houses as part of its sustainability strategy to reach net zero carbon by 2050 and a number of the properties will also be fitted with a mix of photovoltaic (PV) panels, Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP) and battery storage.

The homes, which will be delivered in half the time of traditional methods, will be installed in phases throughout the next year with all 131 homes completed by autumn 2023.  

Joanne Bonnington, assistant director of Development at Jigsaw Homes Group said: “It has been very exciting to see the first few modules arrive on-site after witnessing them being constructed inside the factory. 

“Now the homes are being installed, it offers a great sense of how the area will be transformed and what is to come.” 

“We are looking forward to the completion of even more modules with ilke Homes and delivering affordable, sustainable housing to meet local need.” 

Tom Heathcote, executive director of development at ilke Homes, said:“It’s great to reach the latest milestone at Birch Fields, where ilke Homes, in partnership with Jigsaw Homes Group, is set to deliver one of the UK’s most energy-efficient affordable-led schemes. The new development is breathing life into a once derelict site, making good use of brownfield land. 

“Thanks to high levels of energy-efficiency, residents will be better protected from the worsening cost-of-living crisis, as bills will be significantly reduced.”

Leader of Gedling Borough Council, Councillor John Clarke MBE said: “A key council priority is to provide more homes to meet the current and future needs of the borough and to identify vacant and underused sites for developments.

“I’m pleased to see the progress being made at the Rolleston Drive site and welcome the first homes being delivered at this innovative development on what has been a derelict and unused brownfield site for far too long.

“I look forward to seeing the rest of the site develop and the benefits it will bring to the area, and would like to thank Jigsaw Homes for their support and for investing in affordable homes for the borough.”

To register your interest in a property through shared ownership, please visit snugghomes.co.uk.

Arnold town centre £50m Levelling Up bid to build new library, leisure centre and theatre

Gedling Borough Council has today confirmed they will be submitting a funding bid for £50 million through the government’s latest round of ‘Levelling up’ funding to revitalise Arnold town centre. 

The ‘Ambition Arnold’ bid lays out the council’s plans for investment in a new leisure centre and the modernisation of the northern area of Arnold town centre.

Bonington in Arnold
PICTURED: The Bonington in Arnold (IMAGE: Gedling Eye)
Front Street Arnold
IMPROVEMENTS: Money would also be spent on Front Street in Arnold

The bid includes a new, multi-purpose leisure centre and theatre to replace the current Arnold Leisure Centre and Bonington Theatre, which have been in place since the 1980s. The bid also includes plans for a new library and a public realm space to drive footfall into the northern part of the town centre and create improved access from Front Street to the high street. 

The ‘Levelling Up’ Fund was announced by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in November 2020. The fund was made available to communities in all UK nations,  with up to £4.8 billion available for local infrastructure across the UK. 

Gedling Borough Council had previously bid for £20 million in the first round but were unsuccessful. The feedback from government suggested that the previous application was strong, specifically around the plans for the town centre, so the council has submitted a new bid based on the government response. 

Arnold Town Centre south has recently benefited from a multi-million pound development of The AMP at Arnold Market Place, which is due to be opened shortly. The new £4 million building will have a number of new enterprise businesses there and is also one of the key parts of the council’s overall ambition to revitalise the town centre and create a more vibrant economy in the area. 

Leader of Gedling Borough Council, Councillor John Clarke MBE said: “We can now announce that we will be making a second application for government levelling up funding to revitalise Arnold Town Centre.

As with our previous application, we think this is a strong proposal that, if successful, will help rebuild our town centre. The application includes ambitious proposals for a brand new leisure and culture site at the north part of Arnold Town that will improve this part of the town following the recent investment in the south part of the town with the creation of The AMP building.

“Residents in Arnold have told us that the physical appearance of the area and variety of shops is an issue. This money would be used to improve those areas and create a real buzz in the town centre.

“We have already shown our intentions with the multi-million pound investments we have made in the new Arnold Market Place and the refurbishment of Carlton Town Centre and we will continue to do everything we can to improve the borough for our residents and businesses. WE”

Deputy Leader of Gedling Borough Council, Councillor Michael Payne said “This is Gedling’s second application for our fair share of ‘levelling up’ funding – we hope government will take this application seriously and see that Gedling is in real need of this investment and is simply asking for a fair share of funding, which is what this government promised ‘every part of the UK’. 

Gedling Borough Council’s first application to the Levelling Up Fund was backed by the local Member of Parliament and the council was told it was a ‘strong’ application but no funding was forthcoming. We have made alterations and council officers have worked hard to get a bid ready in a short space of time, however, it is now in the hands of central government to demonstrate if they are serious about backing the council’s ambition to invest in our local communities here in Gedling.”

‘FABULOUS FIVE’: Gedling borough parks scoop coveted Green Flag Award

Five Gedling borough parks have been named as some of the UK’s best following a record-breaking year.

Gedling Country Park, Arnot Hill Park, Burton Road Jubilee Park, Bestwood Country Park and for the first time, Breck Hill Park, joined a record number of parks and green spaces collecting a Green Flag Award – the international quality mark for parks and green spaces.

It was the first time Breck Hill Park in Woodthorpe scooped an award. Last year, it received funding of £100,000 for a new children’s play area following a bid by Gedling Borough Council to FCC Communities, a not-for-profit business that awards grants for community, conservation and heritage projects.

Arnot Hill Park retains the award for the 16th consecutive year, Gedling Country Park for the 7th year in a row, Burton Road Jubilee received the award for the seventh time and Bestwood Country Park has received the award for the third year in a row since the maintenance of the park was taken over by Gedling Borough Council.

The five parks join over 2,000 sites across the country in collecting the award for 2022.

Leader of Gedling Borough Council, Councillor John Clarke said: “We are very pleased to see that four has now turned into a fabulous five as we celebrate the addition of Breck Hill Park to our prestigious list of Green Flag parks in the borough.

“Our parks are incredibly valuable to our communities and these awards recognise their importance and how the council and communities work together to improve them year on year and provide spaces that improve people’s health and wellbeing.

“We work very hard every year to meet the standards and criteria set by the awards so I would like to thank our hard working parks and open spaces staff and the Friends of Groups for their dedication. We know residents of Gedling are very proud of our parks, and this achievement goes to show what wonderful spaces we have in the borough.”

The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of green spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world.

Keep Britain Tidy’s Accreditation Manager Paul Todd said: “I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making the five parks worthy of a Green Flag Award.

These parks are vital green space for the community in Gedling. This award is testament to all the hard work of staff and volunteers, who do so much to ensure that it maintains the high standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.”

Line of Duty star Vicky McClure and fiance Jonny Owen open new new multi-million pound joint police and fire headquarters in Arnold

Line of Duty star Vicky McClure came face-to-face with Nottinghamshire Police’s real-life ‘AC-12’ before officially opening the new multi-million pound joint police and fire headquarters in Arnold.

The Nottingham-born actressknown to millions as Detective Inspector Kate Fleming in the BBC hit drama, was given a guided tour by Chief Constable Craig Guildford of the force’s professional standards department as well as other key departments including the force control room, digital forensics and operational support before cutting the ribbon at Thursday’s ceremony.

Vicky, who also recently starred in the exciting TV series ‘Trigger Point’, was accompanied on her tour by her TV producer, actor and writer fiancé Jonny Owen who has previously starred in shows such as ‘Shameless’.

The actress also witnessed Nottinghamshire Police’s latest recruits being welcomed into the force at their passing out parade and enjoyed a performance by the Nottinghamshire Police Band during her visit.

She said: ““It’s a real honour to be asked here and see the incredible work that’s being done. You don’t tend to get access to these kind of facilities so I do feel really lucky to get this opportunity.

“The new building is really great and it’s clear the people inside it are working really hard.”

Construction work on the collaborative £18.5 million three-storey joint headquarters began in Summer 2020 at Sherwood Lodge in Arnold.

The multi-functional shared blue-light facility, which contains shared office space, a training school, conference rooms, a new police-control room, a sports hall, gymnasium and canteen, is the centre-piece of a wider project to improve and expand the original 1970s-built complex.

The site also contains a joint memorial garden dedicated to the memory of staff from both organisations who have died in service.

Chief Constable Craig Guildford said: “I was delighted to welcome Vicky and Jonny to our joint headquarters and am extremely grateful to them for officially opening our new building.

“We have a lot of Line of Duty fans in the force and it was nice to be able to reward their hard work with today’s visit.

“We’re really proud of our new building and how we are working together with Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service to better serve the public and also save money.

“It’s a project Vicky could relate to given AC-12 underwent its own merger last year. She also knows a thing or two about ‘bent coppers’ and I’m pleased to report she did not have any concerns after meeting our officers and staff!”

£750,000 funding boost to make streets safer in Colwick and Netherfield

Gedling MP, Tom Randall, has welcomed the additional £750,000 awarded to Colwick and Netherfield through the fourth round of the Conservative Government’s Safer Streets Fund, which will help to make streets safer through projects to crack down on neighbourhood crimes and prevent violence against women and girls.

 This additional funding, part of the £50 million from the latest round of the Safer Streets Fund, will invest in essential measures, including extra CCTV and improved street lighting, and it will encourage police and community groups to deliver focused plans to help make women and girls feel safer on our streets, as well as projects which will change attitudes and behaviours in local communities.

Mr Randall said: “No one should feel afraid while walking the streets, yet for so many people, particularly women and girls, feeling uncomfortable or even unsafe in public spaces has become an all-too-common occurrence.

“That is why I wrote to the Home Secretary in June and asked her to prioritise investment into making Gedling safer and I am delighted Colwick and Netherfield has now received £750,000 through our Safer Street Fund, which will deliver necessary measures such as extra CCTV and street lighting alongside engagement projects to change behaviours and prevent crimes being committed.

“Alongside our pledge to get more police on the streets, with more than 25 recruited and deployed onto the streets of Gedling – this investment will ensure people feel safe and secure throughout Gedling as we Build Back Safer.” 

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “It has been one year since I launched our dedicated violence against women and girls strategy and in that year I have overseen incredible work to support victims, prevent violence against women and girls, protect citizens and deliver justice.

“Our essential work with specialist groups is delivering practical support and change for women and girls across our communities and the Safer Streets Fund continues to make a difference to the safety of women and girls at a community level.”

New security fence and classrooms planned for £11m Carlton Le Willows Academy expansion

A new security fence and classrooms are planned for a Gedling school which is undergoing an £11m expansion.

Carlton Le Willows Academy in Wood Lane has applied to build a new temporary building to include two classrooms and two storage rooms.

Another application has also been submitted to Gedling Borough Council to extend the academy’s security fence to create a continuous fence around the Academy playing fields.

It comes after plans submitted in 2020 were approved for a multi-million pound expansion including 20 classrooms, a performance space, dining hall, new access to Burton Road, a new car park and a football pitch.

The expansion, which will include provision for 400 extra pupils, started in March and is set to be complete by September 2022.

If approved, the security fence will also prevent trespassing onto the nearby woodland and ground of Gedling House, a grade two listed building which was built in the 18th century.

Council documents stated: “Carlton le Willows Academy has been working closely with Nottinghamshire County Council to address a shortfall in secondary school places in Gedling.

“The reconfiguration of the campus playing fields has highlighted that there is currently a missing section of security fencing approximately 165 meters in length to the north eastern boundary of the site.

“It is proposed to extend infill this missing section of fencing with a continuous new fence which will match the height and colour of the existing installation.

“When completed the site will be fully enclosed for the purposes of safeguarding of the pupils at Carton le Willows. The fence will also prevent trespass by the pupils onto the protected woodland and grounds of Gedling House.”

The plans will be decided on by the council’s planning committee.

Shoppers and traders divided as Post Office confirmed for key 10-year lease at new Arnold market

Shoppers and traders in Arnold are divided over whether the arrival of the Post Office in a key unit at the town’s new market development will be enough to help kick start the local economy.

Gedling Borough Council has confirmed the company aims to take on a 10 year lease when the new AMP market opens later this year.

The £4m development project, which was initially planned for a spring opening before Covid-related delays, is in the final stages of construction and is expected to be finished at the end of August.

A café bar has already been confirmed for one of the spaces, while Gedling Borough Council has now approved the lease for the Post Office to take up a large space on the ground floor.

The deal was green-lit by Councillor John Clarke (Lab), leader of the council, during a delegated decision last week, with the council believing the Post Office’s arrival will secure a promising future for the market.

In a report published ahead of the decision, Emma Wimble, property services manager, said: “[This] provides the council with the opportunity to secure an anchor tenant with strong covenant whilst also retaining a Post Office presence in the town.

“There are significant advantages of securing this tenant for the AMP. [It] will assist with the smaller start-up units on-site and may be seen as a selling point for other tenants.

“Bringing the tenant into the AMP will be seen as benefit to the residents of Arnold and increasing footfall.”

She adds a Post Office based on the outskirts of the town centre will close its doors and relocate under the 10-year lease.

The closest Post Office to the high street is on Worrall Avenue, with papers confirming the company’s existing building would likely be converted back into residential use.

The move would also be the first time the Post Office has opened a new larger retail store in a Nottinghamshire high street for several years.

At least two major Nottinghamshire Post Office branches have downsized in recent years. Nottingham’s Post Office on Queen Street and Mansfield’s former Church Street store both relocated to operate inside nearby WH Smith shops.

However, people in Arnold were unsure whether the Post Office would be enough to make the market a success.

Sue Bell, 74, who was shopping in the town centre on Monday (July 25), told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “It’s been a bit of a waste of time because it should have opened in April.

“Are they going to get it filled with the right businesses? We want a nice restaurant or something different, a lot of shops in Arnold are closing down.

“The Post Office might help it; it just depends on the other businesses in there.”

Robert Walster, 54, who was also shopping in the town, believes the Post Office would be a good addition but can’t see the market “doing anything for Arnold”.

He said: “If you’ve got the Post Office there, you know you’re going to guarantee people will be using it.

“But it’s taking forever to be built and it depends on other tenants there. They’re planning on putting another café bar in there – there’s load in Arnold.

“I think it needs an electrical store or something different. I can’t see it doing anything for Arnold.”

Jo Morris, 49, who works at the Stoppard’s deli on Front Street, was also sceptical about whether the market will make a difference to the town.

“There’s a lot of empty units in Arnold already – mainly at the other end of the town,” she said.

“The Post Office might help but most areas in town already have their own small one anyway.”

However, Dean Cotton, 31, who lives on Coppice Road, believes the Post Office will make the market “more appealing” to traders.

He said: “I’m excited by the market, I think it’s got potential to be good.

“I always go to the Sneinton Market because it’s got a lot to offer and I hope Arnold is the same, the Post Office will definitely make it more appealing.”

Cllr Michael Payne (Lab), deputy leader of the council, previously said he believes the market will “breathe new life” into Arnold.

The project will create about 40 new jobs through business employment and construction of the market building.

Rail strikes: No services from Burton Joyce, Carlton and Netherfield stations on Wednesday as another walkout looms

No trains will run from Gedling borough’s rail stations when further rail strike action takes place on Wednesday, July 27. 

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union announced its latest day of action by managers, guards and station staff following last month’s strikes in a row over pay and conditions.

As a result of the strike action, train services from Burton Joyce, Carlton and Netherfield will be stopped and no bus replacement services will be in place.

Online journey planners will be updated to show accurate information on Sunday 24th July.

One train per hour will run between Nottingham and London.

There will be one train per hour between Derby and Nottingham.

There will also be one train per hour between Leicester and Nottingham.

An EMR spokesman said: “The RMT union has confirmed its members will be taking strike action on Wednesday, July 27.

“As a result, we will be operating a significantly reduced service on the July 27.

“We ask customers to only travel by rail if necessary. If you do decide to travel, plan ahead and leave extra time for disruption and short notice changes.

Nottinghamshire County Council fraud teams stopped two cyber attacks and prevented £527k in losses

Nottinghamshire County Council teams stopped two separate attempts at cyber fraud involving criminals attempting to change bank account details in order to steal a total of £527,000.

The authority’s business management support (BMS) teams noticed the two incidents when attempts were made to fraudulently alter bank details on a scheduled payment to divert cash into another bank account.

The council has not confirmed which department was targeted by the attacks or when they took place, except that both incidents occurred during the 2021/22 financial year.

However, it states both attempts were “detected and prevented” thanks to measures put in place to monitor bank account amendments following previous incidents where systems had been “infiltrated”.

A report published ahead of the council’s governance and ethics committee, which sat on Thursday afternoon (July 21) stated 250 attempted amendments have been made to various vendors’ account details in the past year.

Because of these attempts, council controls have been enhanced with further reviews planned to “raise awareness” to its suppliers of the cyber fraud risks.

The two incidents were addressed during the committee discussion, with concerns raised over the amount of money targeted by the fraudsters and questions asked about how the authority managed the situation.

Councillor Richard Butler (Con), who represents Cotgrave, said: “It’s inevitable that we have to look at fraud – it’s a fact of life but we seem to be on top of things very well.

“This is a large amount of money and was two cases. It must have been quite dramatic to have two incidents with more than £500,000. I suspect we’ve got plenty of systems in place to ensure there aren’t similar cases.”

In response, a council spokesperson told the committee the two attempts were flagged by the authority’s BMS team before any funds were taken from its account and both the council and its bank were also alerted.

He said: “This was quite happily prevented, it didn’t get paid out and was stopped in the first place.

“That’s a credit to the [business management] team, they spotted and put in the correct checks.

“This is a classic example of cybercrime or a cyber attack, what they attempted to do was pretend to be someone who wanted to change bank accounts to make a payment to a different payee – i.e. themselves.

“But we have systems in place to double check that is actually the right person or organisation before any changes are made, and then indeed to alert both the bank and ourselves before it takes place.

“The payment was never made, but we could track who started the process off. There’s this preventative measure taking place and, be assured, no money left the council’s account.”

He added the council works with the National Crime Agency, Action Fraud and the City of London Police during incidents like this, ensuring criminal agencies are informed of fraud attempts.

However, he could not confirm whether criminal prosecutions had been taken in relation to the two incidents.

The report, noted by councillors during the meeting, included a series of other fraud incidents prevented and detected by the authority in 2021/22.

In total, 45 incidents totalling £670,807 were either detected or prevented in the year, with other activities including pension and social care fraud and misuse of blue badges for disabled parking.

This total was up from the £387,823 figure recorded for 2020/21 when 64 incidents of fraud were detected across the year.

Burial ground proposed in open countryside near Calverton to ease shortage of grave space in Arnold

Developers want to build a burial ground in open countryside outside Calverton following concerns there is not enough grave space left in Arnold.

Funeral service company, A.W. Lymn, wants to change the use of agricultural land to a mixed traditional, natural and woodland burial ground off Georges Lane in Calverton.

The proposal also includes landscaping, new access arrangements, and 18 car parking spaces.

The site is located within the Green Belt and Ramsdale Hill to the north.

Calverton Parish Council has objected over access issues to and from the site and that a footpath exits onto the road in “a dangerous area due to visibility”.

Two objections have been received from members of the public, saying “access is inappropriate close to the sharp bend” and citing extra traffic.

There has been no objection from the council’s conservation officer, the Environment Agency or Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, which has requested that bat boxes are installed.

The council notes there is “now a shortage of local burial space provision to service the needs of people living in the Arnold area of the borough”.

It says Carlton Cemetery has 20 years-plus of burial space, and Calverton village also has adequate burial space.

However, Redhill Cemetery is deemed full to all, apart from ashes internment and re-openers in multiple occupation pre-purchased graves.

The council says access issues have been addressed as part of the application, which includes proposed works to widen the access from Georges Lane to enable two cars to pass.

Planning officers at the council said:  “Whilst the proposal would result in the change of use of land which currently forms open land within the Green Belt, the amount of built form would be limited.

“It is accepted that the presence of gravestones would change the character of the land visually but they would not be significant in terms of their height or general scale.

“The proposed development would represent appropriate development in the Green Belt.”

Planning officers have recommended that planning permission is granted. Councillors will decide the fate of the application when they meet on Wednesday, July 27.