More homes approved for Hucknall’s former Rolls-Royce aerodrome site

The housing development at the former Rolls-Royce site off Watnall Lane, Hucknall
The housing development at the former Rolls-Royce site off Watnall Lane, Hucknall.
By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

More homes have been approved for Hucknall’s former Rolls-Royce aerodrome site – taking the total number of properties on the industrial hub above 900.

Ashfield District Council’s planning committee approved the plans on Tuesday (January 18), with developer Muse Developments Ltd putting forward proposals for 261 homes.

It follows the outline approval for 900 homes on the land almost a decade ago, with the most recent application forming part of the wider development.

However, in its application, Muse Developments made amendments to the layout of the overall scheme – leading to the loss of some previously-allocated employment space.

The developer, which is working in partnership with Rolls-Royce PLC, proposed increasing the total number of homes allowed on-site by 75 and removing about 4.12 hectares of employment land on the Harrier Park estate.

But additional land will instead be incorporated into the development at a separate location, compensating about 0.89 hectares of alternative employment space.

Changes to access on parts of the development will see employment space accessed off the A611 bypass route rather than through the housing estate off Watnall Road.

This was described as a “sensible solution” by Councillor Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind), leader of the council, who said it will prevent lorries and commercial trucks “trundling through” residential streets.

The meeting heard Ashfield District Council will now seek additional section 106 developer contributions to account for the lost space and extra housing.

This includes £275,147 towards primary education, which will provide 16 places at the new-build Hucknall Flying High Academy site.

The school, which was approved as part of the 2013 application, must extend to accommodate 75 additional homes, and councillors were told the contributions are “almost double” what the council would expect.

A further £286,500 will be requested towards secondary education, funding 12 school places expected to be needed by the extra 75 homes.

Again councillors were told this is “over and beyond” standard contributions for secondary education, with previous financial settlements from the development helping to deliver a new sixth-form college.

The authority has also requested £195,513 for healthcare provision in the Hucknall area, which will go with the £750,000 already provided by the wider development to eventually create a new healthcare facility in the town.

The meeting heard this funding is awaiting use by the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, with the CCG yet to find a site for the new facilities.

But concerns were raised in the meeting about the level of housing being proposed in Hucknall.

It follows proposals within the authority’s draft local housing plan to create a 3,000-home development at Whyburn Farm – a scheme that caused fierce backlash from residents.

Cllr John Wilmott (Ash Ind), who represents Hucknall North, said: “We’ve got more and more, we’re thinking about 3,000 houses extra in Hucknall.

“I’ve never heard anything like it. It’s becoming stupid and silly, the whole issue. I don’t know where we’re going with it and until issues are addressed I cannot support this.”

The committee approved the plans by a margin of five votes to two.

It means 975 homes will be built on the former industrial hub alongside the proposed industrial space.

A condition on the most recent application prevents any business space being used as a “town centre”, meaning no large shops can be built on-site.

The development site, which was once used to test experimental aircraft, has links to its history, with streets named after legendary aircraft like the Hurricane and the Spitfire.

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