By Emily Winsor
UP TO 9,600 homes could be built in the borough of Rushcliffe before 2026 – with half of them on green-belt land.
The plans are revealed in the latest draft local plan drawn up by Rushcliffe Borough Council, which has to find room for new homes to meet government targets.
The plan requires an average of 640 homes each year for the next 14 years.
The green-belt areas outlined for development in the plan include land to the south of Clifton, where 2,500 homes are planned; 1,200 homes next to Sharphill Woods, in Edwalton; a minimum of 450 homes at Keyworth; a minimum of 400 at Radcliffe-on-Trent and at least 250 homes at Ruddington.
Sites at RAF Newton and the old Cotgrave Colliery are earmarked for 550 homes and 470 homes respectively.
The plan also outlines proposals for 1,000 homes north of Bingham and at least 400 at East Leake.
Edwalton resident John Quinton, 78, said there was still widespread opposition to plans to build near Sharphill Woods and said he was shocked by the proportion of green-belt land allocated for development in the local plan.
Mr Quinton, of Village Street, said: "I think building on green belt is a sin. What is the point of green belt if it is going to be ruined with houses?
"People in the village are still incandescent about the last Sharphill development proposals. When there are thousands of unoccupied houses going to rack and ruin in Notts, it seems ludicrous that there are plans to build on beauty spots.
"When Sharphill is built, Melton Road is going to be a nightmare and I predict bad congestion and a rise in accidents."
Residents share similar views in Cotgrave.
Frederick Hopper, 60, who lives off Rectory Road, said the feeling was one of united opposition to the plans for 470 homes on the colliery site.
He said: "I have lived here for 30 years and I am in a very good position to say that the town does not want to see building on the colliery site, part of which is green belt.
"Once it is done, it can never be undone and the country will be turned to concrete. What is more, I don't think there is a true need for these houses.
"The houses that exist already are not being used efficiently – some homes are occupied by one person and others sit empty.
"Cotgrave's infrastructure won't cope with hundreds more houses and we don't want to see it happen."
Bettina Lange, secretary of the Notts branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said the main objection the organisation had was towards the development near Clifton.
She said: "In general terms, we want to see as little building on green-belt land as possible.
"Building on countryside south of Clifton will create a sprawling urban area and put pressure on the transport network.
"What is more, Rushcliffe's aim of building 640 homes a year is unrealistic and I predict won't be achieved.
"Sharphill has had planning permission for several years and still hasn't been built on. It seems wrong to earmark green-belt land for development for the sake of earmarking land."
Rushcliffe Borough Council leader Neil Clarke admitted the local plan was "ambitious" but said it was a sustainable model. He said: "The Rushcliffe local plan is a crucial document that decides what gets built where over the next 13 years.
"Our plan will help ensure that there are sufficient houses and jobs in the borough to meet the needs of our growing population.
"We have allocated all our brown-field land and all that was left for us to look at was green belt.
"We need to develop this land in order for us to fulfil the requirements of the Planning Inspectorate."
All this was protested about a few years ago and the scheme was shelved ....... here it all is again :-(
Sharphill Woods 'Eco-Protest' :: What's going to be lost, Landscape Piccys
Sharphill Woods 'Eco-Protest'