The second tranche of houses at the enormous Chase Farm development has been given the green light.
Approval was originally given in principle for 1,050 homes, but a cap of 315 homes was placed on developers, who had to wait for the Gedling Access Road (GAR) to be finished before they could build any more.
Now, despite the GAR not being finished, councillors feel it is at a sufficiently advanced stage that the next phase – 191 more homes – can go ahead.
Further detailed planning permission will still be required for the subsequent 544 homes.
The GAR is a long-awaited 3.8km road linking the B684 Mapperley Plains and the A612 Trent Valley Road / Nottingham Road. It is currently due to be open to traffic in Autumn 2021.
The decision to allow the next group of houses was taken yesterday (Wednesday, June 17) at a virtual meeting of Gedling Borough Council’s planning committee.
Councillor Chris Barnfather represents the Newstead Abbey ward for the Conservatives, and said: “The condition was put in because the Gedling Access Road may never have got off the ground, and the funding may not have ultimately transpired, or for whatever other reason it didn’t happen.
“I think we’re all satisfied that it’s at such an advanced stage at this moment in time that that’s not going to be the case.
“So I think it’s quite appropriate that the planning permissions should be in progress so as to be able to advance the dwellings as and when the time arrives.”
However some councillors argued that the second phase of the scheme should not get the green light, because it is common for major infrastructure projects like the GAR to overrun, and that if the houses were built before the GAR it would exacerbate congestion problems.
Councillor Andrew Ellwood is the Liberal Democrat councillor for the Phoenix ward, and said: “I’m still concerned about the application and the relaxation of the 315 house limit before the GAR comes into operation.
“Clearly the risk that the GAR will overrun is a lot less than it was when the original application was granted, and there is a very good chance that it will be completed as scheduled.
“However there is still a risk that the GAR could overrun due to unforeseen circumstances, because this is a major construction project.
“There is also the issue of ensuring that public transport is correctly introduced into housing development.
“I have been informed by county council staff that there is a trigger point of 75 to 100 houses, at which point a bus service should be instigated onto the housing development. Clearly that hasn’t happened as of yet, and the risk is that if this is accelerated there will be a lot more residents in situ, and they risk getting out of the habit of using public transport.
“I think this in itself is a good enough reason to limit the number of completions in the early stages of this development. So as it stands I am opposed to this recommendation.”
But Councillor Meredith Lawrence, who represents the Colwick ward for Labour, said: “I think there are three reasons for this to be approved.
“One is that the county council’s highways team has no objection. Another is that it fits in with the national planning framework, and the third is economic – getting people back to work – so I will be supporting this.”
The development passed by 12 votes to two at the planning committee.