It’s been over two years in the making – and finally, Gedling Access Road will be opened up to motorists next week.
To mark the occasion, Gedling Eye took a look back through the archives to chart the story of the road’s creation.
And it’s been one heck of a journey…
Where it began…September 2016
It was revealed a number of landowners could be issued with compulsory purchase orders in a bid to get the Gedling Access Road scheme up and running.
29 landowners have been identified who own 70 individual pieces of land needed to build the road. 28 pieces of this land are already owned by the authorities.
Plans looked set to move to the next stage as a legal process to acquire essential land looked set to get approval by councillors.
The legal processes are known as a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) and Side Roads Order (SRO) which are subject to final approval by the Secretary of State.
No existing residential properties would be affected and the only buildings affected are outbuildings or are derelict.
A total of approximately 28 hectares of land would have to be acquired to construct the GAR. This is made up of 53 plots of land with more than half of these plots and land already owned by public sector organisations. The remaining plots – covering 14.6 hectares – has 14 individual owners.
A team from Via East Midlands, working on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council go in contact with all 14 landowners affected by the proposals including a local scout group and Carlton le Willows Academy.
Ron Hodges of the 3rd Woodthorpe Scout Group on Mapperley Plains said at the time: “We’ve had firm assurances that our buildings will not be affected by the scheme and that we will continue our scouting and guiding activities at Pepperpots Scout Ground which has been our group’s home for the last 40 years.”
Nottinghamshire County Council was given the green light to buy land needed for GAR.
Nottinghamshire County Council’s Policy Committee gave the go ahead to buy the two areas of land that form part of Glebe Farm on Lambley Lane in Gedling and Ranch Kennels on Whitworth Drive in Burton Joyce.
It was hoped the main construction works would last 18 months and the road would be completed and open to traffic before the end of 2020.
Work to demolish an iconic farm building and also construct a new bat house began to help clear the way for the development of the new Gedling Access Road (GAR).
Construction started on a bat house which was being built due to the loss of daytime and maternity roosts as a result of the demolition of Glebe Farm, which would take place the following month.
The demolition of the Glebe Farm buildings was expected to take six weeks.
Some local residents said they would be sad to see the properties reduced to rubble.
Iris Lane said: “I’ll be sad to see it go. Glebe Farm is part of our heritage and too many of these buildings are being lost and replaced by more modern monstrosities.
But Gedling Village Local History & Preservation Society member Francis Rodrigues said the demolition work was all part of progress.
He said at the time: ”Although It’s sad to see Glebe Farm disappear, the benefit to Gedling Village of the new road (GAR) will be immense and will improve the quality of life for thousands of local residents in and around Gedling Village, Carlton and Netherfield.
He added: “The building has been recorded and photographed for historical purposes.”
It was revealed that the start of work on the new Gedling Access Road (GAR) could be delayed unless a number of objections from landowners who are subject to the compulsory purchase scheme were resolved.
Nottinghamshire County Council said they were launching a public inquiry to consider the objections, which could possibly hold up the start of construction work, which is due to begin in 2020.
The council did say that if the objections were resolved quickly, they would look at starting construction work sooner.
Cllr John Cottee, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Communities and Place Committee, told Gedling Eye: “The start of the road’s construction is dependent on the outcome of the public inquiry, but we are aiming to start the main works at the beginning of next year (2020) with an expected completion date during 2021.”
Residents in Mapperley said they were ‘deeply concerned’ about the impact the new multi-million pound Gedling Access Road (GAR) would have on their lives if plans to install acoustic screens and reduce traffic noise were abandoned.
Gedling Borough Council’s planning committee discussed scrapping plans to have protective screens and barriers running alongside the new road at the Mapperley Plains end.
A public document available on the Gedling Borough Council website revealed that an unnamed planning officer had 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 would 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 said in the assessment that ‘due to a change in levels and planting, the fencing is proposed to be removed from this location too.’
It was decided that acoustic screening along a stretch of the Gedling Access Road (GAR) in Mapperley would now be installed after proposals to ditch them were rejected at a council planning meeting.
The recommendations were unanimously rejected by Gedling Borough Council‘s planning committee at a meeting.
After the meeting, Arnold North Councillor Michael Payne told Gedling Eye that the decision was ‘a victory for common sense’.
He said: “It was a real team effort to ensure the plans for the screens remained.
“It’s all about trust and I think that we’d have struggled to get people to believe in the planning process if we’d lost. They’d have felt like we had gone back on our word to protect their properties and local wildlife.”
The leader and deputy leader of Gedling Borough Council called on Nottinghamshire County Council to help them urgently replace every tree being removed to make way the construction of the new £40m Gedling Access Road.
Councillors John Clarke and Michael Payne made the plea while planting new trees in Gedling Country Park, which is next to where the new road will be built.
Leader of Gedling Borough Council, Councillor John Clarke hoped Nottinghamshire County Council would lend their support to the initiative.
He said: “Nottinghamshire County Council are responsible for building the Gedling Access Road and they are felling 1000s of trees to make way for it. We’re calling on them to immediately join us and do everything they can do mitigate the impact of the new road by replacing every single tree that have felled.
“The Gedling Access Road is needed and is an important part of the infrastructure to provide much needed new homes and less traffic in Gedling Village, however, everything must be done to limit the destruction of natural habitat and wildlife which is why we are planting these trees.”
Construction on the new Gedling Access Road (GAR) officially began on January 6.
Main construction work was expected to last 18 months and there was hopes it should be completed in the Autumn of 2021.
The green light to begin construction work was given after the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership approved its share of funding for the project.
D2N2 said they would contribute £10.8m from its Local Growth Fund allocation towards the construction of the new road.
The £10.8m contribution from D2N2 is part of an overall package of funding which includes £17m from Keepmoat Homes, £5.4m from Nottinghamshire County Council, and £7.1m from the Home & Community Agency totalling over £40m.
D2N2 Chair Elizabeth Fagan said at the time: “The construction of the Gedling Access Road is a huge opportunity for unlocking new housing and employment for Gedling.”
“High quality and reliable infrastructure is critical to giving businesses the confidence to invest in our area and therefore create further opportunities for the whole region to enjoy.”
The Gedling Access Road would only offer a short-term solution to our traffic problems, said Philip Oddie from Willow Farm Action Group…
He pointed out that The GAR planning application in 2014, had identified that 12,000 vehicles per day used Arnold Lane / Main Road / Shearing Hill in Gedling however, since then the numbers had risen to over 15,000 per day, making this route one of the most heavily used roads in the region, with the section between Lambley Lane and Main Road operating over capacity.
Whilst, historically, the need to reduce the traffic levels within Gedling has been the driving force behind the plans to build this new road, the sheer scale of Gedling Borough Council’s plans to develop the area has forced a change to the primary purpose of the road, from providing a bypass to a road which unlocks land at the edge of Gedling for new housing.
He wrote in a column for Gedling Eye: “Throughout the planning process, Gedling Borough Council has continued to claim that Gedling will benefit from a reduction in the level of traffic on the Arnold Lane / Main Road / Shearing Hill route.
“Nottinghamshire County Council published a report last year which confirmed that, with the opening of the GAR, there will be an initial reduction in the volume of traffic through Gedling Village however, the longer term projection, which takes account of the additional traffic generated by the new housing developments, is that the level of traffic will, in fact, rise to 18350 vehicles per day by 2034, which is an increase of over 2000 above the current levels.
The amount of traffic will, of course, increase as the new homes are completed and occupied and by 2026, 506 new homes are expected to have been completed on Chase Farm and 110 on Willow Farm, with the result that the volume of traffic on the route through Gedling Village is highly likely to exceed current levels within 5 years of the opening of the GAR.”
It was revealed a new area of woodland with 10 different species of trees would be planted alongside part of the new multi-million pound Gedling Access Road.
Concerns had been raised that several hundred trees would be dug up to make way for the road, but it was now hoped the new woodland would more than make up for the number of trees lost.
The plan came about because huge quantities of earth needs to be moved to make way for the 3.8 km road.
Several options were considered for where to put the 165,900 tonnes of earth – the equivalent of 27,650 adult African elephants, or 753 Boeing 747s.
One idea was to move it to Dorket Head Quarry near Calverton to help fill sites which had been dug up. But the quarry was not yet ready to be filled, and the impact of HGV trips was deemed prohibitive.
Instead, the construction equipment which would be on site anyway, would transfer the waste soil to the new area of woodland, which would be off Arnold Lane in Gedling.
A water mains was left damaged by a HGV thought to be working on the Gedling Access Road.
7,000 homes were initially cut off when a lorry struck the pipe close to the Gedling Access Road site near Burton Joyce.
Engineers for Severn Trent Water worked around the clock to restore water to around 6,000 homes in Netherfield, Gedling and Carlton, but it was estimated around 1,000 homes in Burton Joyce still remained dry.
Pedestrians were being warned not to access a closed road in Gedling after reports people were ignoring warning signs.
Lambley Lane is currently closed to road users and pedestrians until February 2021 to allow for work on the new £40m Gedling Access Road to take place.
Nottinghamshire County Council issued a warning following reports people were continuing to access the road on foot, despite the risks to safety.
A spokesman said: “We have received reports of pedestrians accessing Lambley Lane in Gedling.
“This is not permitted and is extremely dangerous due to the heavy earth moving equipment in operation to construct the Gedling Access Road.
“Please do not ignore the signs.”
A construction firm apologised for sending large vehicles down narrow village roads in Gedling.
Residents in Gedling village voiced their anger after HGVs and large construction vehicles were spotted using Shearing Hill and Arnold Lane to gain access to the Gedling Access Road (GAR) site near the village.
Locals said the vehicles were having a ‘devastating impact’ on the local community.
Geoffrey Pope, 77, who lives in the village said the narrow roads can’t cope with this kind of traffic.
“I was under the impression the firm working on the road wouldn’t be using our village roads to access the site. It’s just not on,” he said.
“The roads simply can’t cope with these huge vehicles. They weren’t built for that. I worry some pedestrian is going to get hurt as it gets very narrow. They need to stop now. It’s having a huge impact on the village.”
Village resident Francis Rodrigues said that recent activity proved how much the Gedling Access Road was needed.
He said at the time: “These huge vehicles demonstrate how much the GAR is needed when you see them on Shearing Hill– which is so narrow in parts including the pavements.
“Over 25,000 cars and lorries use this route now, of which 2,000 of these are HGVs.”
Workforce and labour issues as well as delays over Covid caused council spending on the Gedling Access Road to be more than £5 million over budget.
It led to mounting concern over where the funding will be found, with one councillor fearing the £40 million project could become “our HS2”.
Nottinghamshire County Council documents, reviewed by Monday’s finance committee, forecast the project will cost £5.4 million more than originally planned.
Issues of delays accessing materials, construction workers being ‘pinged’ and the council continuing to pay costs have, documents say, caused the overall cost to rise.
Speaking at a finance committee meeting on Monday (September 6), some raised concerns over where the extra finance will be found to combat the “spiralling costs”.
Councillor Tom Hollis (Ash Ind), who represents Sutton West, told the committee: “I certainly feel that, with better planning, this overspend could have been avoided.
“The Gedling Access Road was originally meant to cost £40 million, it’s now gone up by £5.4 million or 12 per cent, but included in that initial £40 million was contingency costs.
It was revealed the opening of Gedling Access Road would now be delayed until spring 2022.
Nottinghamshire County Council blamed challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic for the delays.
The road was initially expected to take 18 months to complete.
Councillor Ben Bradley MP, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said at the time: “In the circumstances, just an extra few months on a project that’s been in the pipeline for several decades, delivered during a global pandemic, is a pretty good effort in my view and I am very proud that we are the ones delivering this for people in Gedling.
“The road will make a huge difference to motorists who will notice faster journey times, and local residents, who will benefit from less congestion through Gedling Village and for the further investment it will unlock in the area.”
The county council revealed today that what was initially thought to be a £5.4m overspend on the £40m project has now increased to £8.6m.
NCC council leader Ben Bradley told Gedling Eye: “A global pandemic has meant that construction has had to cope with unexpected problems.
“Inflation has also meant that the cost has risen and poor weather and alterations to planned groundworks has unfortunately resulted in a delay.”
John Clarke, leader of Gedling Borough Council, has said that the overspend “sounds like a lot of money but [not] if you compare to HS2 and other things like that.
“The actual building has been extremely challenging, and I think they’ve done well.
“It is public money and we want to know where the £5.4m is coming from but I would like to set a more level playing field.”
Gedling Access Road could be known as ‘Colliery Way’ when it finally opens up to motorists next year.
Documents published on Gedling Borough Council’s website revealed a new name had been proposed for Gedling Access Road.
The document states that Colliery Way was favoured over 20 other suggestions because “the name suggested is relevant to the local area as the road is adjacent to the former Gedling Colliery site”.
The following names were also suggested for the new access road, which opens in Spring 2022:
- Pepper Pot Way
- All Hallows Way,
- Mercury Way,
- Gedling Park Way,
- The Pit Road,
- Gedling Pit Road,
- Gedling Pit Way,
- Gedling Way,
- Mapperley Wharf Way,
- Old Pit Way,
- Top Hard Way,
- Main Bright Way,
- High Hazels Way,
- Wharf Way (or Wharfs Way)
- Chase Farm Way
- Gedling Colliers Way,
- Harvey’s Way,
- Peppermint Way,
- Ghellenge Way,
- Gedling Village Bypass,
- and Five Rings Way
The proposal was now awaiting approval.
Nottinghamshire County Council, who are responsible for the road’s construction, said the name suggested to Gedling Borough Council met with their approval.
Councillor Neil Clarke MBE, Chairman of the Transport and Environment Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council, said:”Gedling Borough Council’s proposed name is a fitting tribute to the important mining history of the area.
“Colliery Way will not just connect people to the history and heritage of the area but will also connect residents and communities to new future opportunities, employment and housing in the city and county.
“Once completed, the new road will become the A6211 Colliery Way.”
The opening date for the delayed Gedling Access Road was officially confirmed.
Colliery Way, as it will now be called, will finally open to traffic on March 22.
It was revealed construction teams have moved 512,000 cubic metres of earth, equivalent to 204 Olympic swimming pools, laid 45,816 tonnes of tarmac and installed 30 kilometres of drainage pipes and cable ducts to create the site
53,000 new trees are being planted across the site, and ecological measures including seven badger tunnels, six amphibian crossings and seven bat hop-overs being constructed.
Traffic will be able to use the new road from midday on March 22.
“The Colliery Way will contribute towards the ongoing housing development in the area, creating much needed new homes, with improved access to the Chase Farm development and improved access to our Gedling Country Park. This all directly contributes to the local economy through new jobs and more people moving into the area to live and work.
“This road will also be welcomed by the residents of Gedling Village who will see a big reduction in through traffic, it will give them their village back, which is something we have been wanting to achieve for a long time.”
- The road will officially open to traffic on Tuesday, March 22 at mid-day.