LETTER: Access go-ahead will make things worse

Only a few weeks ago the Chad reported on the congestion on Nottingham Road around the Park Lane Retail Park and the serious frustration this is causing for local residents and visitors. We were assured that local councillors and the mayor were doing all they could to fix these problems.

So, what has the council done in response? Nothing at all - other than to allow access via council owned land, through a much valued local nature reserve, for the development of 200 houses on the former Gregory Quarry site off Quarry Lane, which will instead simply make matters worse. Quarry Lane is now the only practical way of getting into town for residents in the area but it seems that this too is going to be blocked. 
Unbelievably, the transport assessment carried out by the developer completely omits to mention that Quarry Lane narrows to a single track at the Drury viaduct causing regular queues of traffic.

READ MORE: Decapitation of nature reserve will be responsibility of elected representatives

Even worse, at a meeting on May 30 2017, between the developers and representatives from Mansfield District Council and Notts County Council highways staff, the viaduct and its impact on traffic flows was not even discussed as a factor.

In addition to the traffic issues, the development will split the Maun Valley Nature Reserve in half and requires that a large section is given over for road and bridge widening to enable access. This will have a devastating impact on the site and completely destroy its character as a place of rare peace and tranquillity in the heart of the town. The site itself is designated on the draft Local Plan as part of the strategic green infrastructure network, and encompasses two wildlife sites, in addition to bordering the nature reserve.

The developer’s own ecological appraisal confirms that the site is home to a variety of protected species. Despite all of this the developer has already been informed in writing that there is no need for an environmental impact assessment to take place. Mansfield District Council planning policy NE13 unequivocally states that the council will not approve developments which will damage local nature reserves - so one would have thought then that protection of the reserve and surrounding habitat would be the priority for the council. Not a bit of it.

Officers, members and council leaders, in my view, should get out of their habit of pandering to commercial interests and for once give suitable weight to other considerations, because clearly this site is unique and should be protected. If this development goes ahead in its present form the council may as well erect a sign saying ‘Welcome to Mansfield - a Developers Free-For- All’ and burn all their planning policies, because clearly they are not worth the paper they are written on in my view.

Liz Langrick

Hillsway Crescent, 
Mansfield