Residents in Mapperley say they are ‘deeply concerned’ about the impact the new multi-million pound Gedling Access Road (GAR) will have on their lives if plans to install acoustic screens and reduce traffic noise are abandoned.
Gedling Borough Council’s planning committee are to meet next Wednesday (November 6) to discuss scrapping plans to have protective screens and barriers running alongside the new road at the Mapperley Plains end.
Construction work on the relief road, which will link the A612 Trent Valley Road and Nottingham Road to Mapperley Plains, is expected to start in January.
A public document available on the Gedling Borough Council website reveals that an unnamed planning officer has now recommended removing the screens from the plans because they would be ‘detrimental to the visual amenity of the area’.
The officer went on to claim that screens wouldn’t be needed because GAR will be raised above the existing ground level and any increase in noise to dwellings at a lower level ‘would be marginal’.
They also recommended that plans to have acoustic fencing placed near the former railway tunnel entrance in Mapperley should also be removed. These screens were proposed to protect the bats who have made the old tunnel their home. The officer has said in the assessment that ‘due to a change in levels and planting, the fencing is proposed to be removed from this location too.’
At the end of the assessment, the officer did say that plans for screens at the Burton Joyce end of the Gedling Access Road should remain.
A Mapperley resident who didn’t want to be named contacted Gedling Eye to voice their concerns about the acoustic screens being omitted from the construction plan.
They said: “Obviously, this is deeply concerning. What is the point of an extensive consultation with panels of experts and a variety of affected groups when one planning officer can suggest this removal because they don’t like the look of it.
“Nottinghamshire County Council and VIA used an independent agency to conduct the Noise Modelling Report and concluded that this sound barrier was essential.
“This recommendation has the power to have a long term impact on any new housing that is developed along that stretch of the Plains as well as existing residents and our beloved Gedling Country Park wildlife – in particular, the protected bats near to the Mapperley Tunnel entrance.
“The wording of the report is particularly galling as it suggests keeping the barriers in place at Burton Joyce to protect those residents.”
He said: “We don’t understand why this has been raised now. What is the justification?
“We’ve had residents in Mapperley contact our group and they are very concerned about these proposed changes.
“As far we are concerned the Gedling Access Road plans have been discussed and agreed. If the council had any concerns then they should have been raised then, not now.
“We feel that the potential impact on the environment and local housing is a big concern if these screens aren’t put in place. We don’t understand why these changes are being proposed now. It will only delay the construction of the road.
Gedling Borough Council said a final decision is yet to be made.
Their spokesperson told Gedling Eye: “Planning permission for the Gedling Access Road has already been approved. The report which will be considered by the planning committee is to approve the discharge of certain conditions including the installation of acoustic fencing along parts of the road.
“The advice from our Environmental Health Officers is that any fencing near the Mapperley Plains area would have limited benefit in terms of reducing noise from the approved road. Therefore, the view of our planning officers is that the limited benefit does not outweigh the visual harm to the character of the area.
“There will be fencing along other areas of the road towards Burton Road where there is an evidenced based need and the visual impacts are less harmful.
They added:”The final decision is subject to planning committee approval who will make a decision on Wednesday.”
Gedling Eye has contacted Nottinghamshire County Council for a comment.
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