UPDATE FOLLOWING REFUSAL
A message to our supporters:
Thank you on behalf of all of us at Bramcote Unity Park for your encouraging messages of support and your continued enthusiasm for the creation of the first privately funded publicly owned park in our city for generations.
We were deeply disappointed that the local planning authorities of Broxtowe and Nottingham refused the application for planning permission which will now be the subject of an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate in order that consent may ultimately be obtained for enabling development, which will fund enhancements to the natural environment.
We will continue to strive to achieve our ambitious goal to create the Bramcote Unity Park uniting these parcels of land, eradicating the dominant Japanese Knotweed and implementing the many ambitious projects including mass native tree plantation, environmental, botanical, ecological and social enhancements. Our main goal, however, is to take what is privately owned land and bring it in to lawful use for all of us to enjoy.
At this time we encourage members of the public NOT to enter on to the private section of land until the JKW is removed and the park is established as disturbance and transit of the knotweed underfoot has been, and is accelerating the spread of the weed exponentially,
Ref: RSK Engineering and Environmental Consultancy Report
“Biosecurity should be immediately controlled onsite by restricting unauthorised access to the infested area. This can be achieved by erecting temporary hoarding or heras fencing to prevent the subsequent spread of Japanese knotweed to other parts of the site. The location of the hoarding or heras fencing will need to take into consideration the underground lateral spread of the Japanese knotweed which can potentially extend up to 7m from any stand and the annual encroachment of the Japanese knotweed with each growing season.
Immediate action should be taken to control/remove the Japanese knotweed. We understand the JKW on site is outcompeting native species, reducing the biodiversity for flora and fauna and is within 4m of adjoining properties”
The Japanese knotweed and the future donation of lawful public access are just two of the matters that were not considered to be material in the planning process, however they are matters which must be addressed in order for us all to enjoy this land in perpetuity both lawfully and free of the biohazard (JK) which continues to consume more and more of this site. These matters will be of particular interest at the forthcoming planning appeal. We will continue to keep you all updated.
Best wishes to all.
Given that it is a nearly a year since we submitted the planning application for the 'Bramcote Unity Park' we thought it was timely to provide an update as the planning committee date draws near. It also helps to answer some common concerns that we would like to address.
Japanese Knotweed & Ecology:
- The 11.5 acres of privately owned land set on Bramcote Ridge contains a vast and growing amount of Japanese Knotweed which continues to spread each year (and wasn’t disclosed upon purchase).
- There is a common misunderstanding that there is a duty for the land owner to remove it, but this isn't the case. It is “the land-owners responsibility to prevent the spread in to the wild or to neighbouring properties” (Wildlife & Countryside Act).
- Without the enabling development, the approaching half a million pound cost to remove this invasive species cannot be met.
- Current foot-traffic (trespass) has and is inadvertently spreading the Knotweed further. To comply with the responsibilities, the land owner (as stated above) will have to deny any access until it is resolved.
- Three experts in the field of ecology and specialists in Japanese Knotweed have reported that given a short period of time the Knotweed will consume the whole area resulting in a mono-culture (it will take over). This is what we are seeking to prevent and which will result in the planting 1072 indigenous trees recommended by our Arboriculture Consultant following its removal (if the proposal is approved).
- In the absence of an approved proposal and clear strategy over removing this unwelcome dominant plant, to protect the remaining and neighbouring ecology and slow the spread of the Knotweed, the owners of the land will securely fence it to meet the requirements of the countryside and wildlife act.
Petition against the sale of the land:
- The Bramcote Unity Park team are aware of a petition created in 2018 (before we purchased) against the sale of the land by auction to another private owner.
- This had gained some 700-800 sign-ups before our planning application was lodged in July 2019.
- Unfortunately, this petition only serves to achieve the opposite of our aim: for this land to be legally open and accessible to all.
- The Council recognise that there is a clear benefit to the public having lawful and unfettered rights of access across this land that do not currently exist.
- The people behind this application are locals, who grew up in the area and wish for, with as little disruption as possible, for this to be an open space, enhancing the ecology for future generations to come.
- We have hundreds of supporters of this application who share our vision to create a more accessible park for the public to legally enjoy, with all the added benefits you’ll find listed on our website.
- At a meeting held in January we offered to sell this land at cost to the council, as long as it was to be created as public park for all to enjoy but the Council declined (we were also advised they were made aware that it would be sold at auction and were not interested then either).
“How can we be certain that there wouldn’t be more development?”
- One of the questions we frequently hear is ‘how can we be sure that if these houses are granted planning permission you won’t apply to build more in say, 5 years or so?’. Over 70% of the privately owned land will be gifted into a CIC (Charitable Incorporated Company) with a strict covenant that the land cannot be sold or built on, that it must be an open park for community use.
- This land will be held in a charitable company that by its constitution cannot use the land for any other purpose.
- Self imposed planning conditions will be in place further cementing its legal status as a park for all.
- Along with the cost of the knotweed eradication and the subsequent tree plantation, the enabling development will be paying for the capital costs of the purchase of the land, creation of the park including all of the features detailed on our website, in addition to a £200,000 dowery for its maintenance moving forward. The houses are being built to fund the Bramcote Unity Park hence the phrase “enabling development”.
- We have a constituted charitable company with a board of Directors appointed with skills ranging from finance to education, wildlife and sport (to name a few), in addition to many people wanting to be members of the organisation and volunteer.
To summarise; the land was for sale and would have been purchased by some person or company for a valued use, perhaps blanket development, private garden space or some commercial use, but highly unlikely for someone to buy to remove the knotweed and then pay to insure and manage a park for us all, for free. Recognising the risks highlighted above and in the absence of either Council stepping in, we joined together to take perhaps the last ever opportunity to retain as much open space as possible, a sensitive scheme has been developed to maximise the park benefits with the minimum commercially viable development to fund it (enabling development). Ultimately, this is a community project; we welcome any questions, concerns, ideas and of course more potential volunteers!
Bramcote Unity Park is a project intended to unite various parcels of land together in terms of ownership, management, funding & master-planning to create a public park using private money.
The purchase of the final piece of the jigsaw within Bramcote Ridge means 7 acres of land will be donated for public use, with over £1m invested & over 1072 new trees planted. A very small portion will be developed into residential housing adjacent to existing housing, adding 11 new highly efficient & expertly finished homes.
THE PARK PLAN
The Bramcote Honey & Pollination Project intends to allow volunteer bee-keepers to care for and harvest honey using local pollen. With the bee population in decline and are now declared an endangered species, we will be constructing a dedicated apiary containing four of the highest quality bee hives. Cleanly and securely housed, surrounded by appropriate security fencing allowing our volunteers to collect honey. We intend for the honey to be sold in the local independent Bramcote Lane shops, putting local honey on your toast whilst proceeds will help with the upkeep of the Park. The population of bees in an urban setting will be a huge benefit to the local eco-system. Buying honey made from local pollen can strengthen a person's immune system and reduce pollen allergy symptoms, too.
The importance of trees needs no introduction. They help us breathe, remove carbon dioxide from the air and carry it into the soil, purifying the air whilst cooling urban areas by as much as 2 degrees.
Taking advice from the Woodland Trust and specialist consultants, utilising our in-depth tree survey, we have identified that we can plant an additional 1072 trees of native species. Only two existing trees need removing, allowing what should be there, to thrive. This will achieve one of the biggest single urban plantation schemes in recent times.
The existence of a large quantity of giant Japanese Knotweed & variegated yellow-archangel is currently dominating a large portion of the site; our intention is to use a specialist company to move this as soon as work commences, ceasing this relentless plant from taking over more of the woodland and spreading to the Nature Reserve.
Having improved the bio-diversity, wildlife and reforestation, you'll need somewhere to sit and enjoy it all. We will be installing park benches & viewing points across the parkland allowing you to take a well earned rest.
The newly formed pathways add another 1.2km allowing you to link with walks onto other land within the Bramcote Unity Park with exciting things to see along the way. We will be providing many improvements including bird hides, bee-keeping area, an area for early-years outdoor education classes & picnic spots, woodland play areas, appropriate signage, defibrillator point and last but not least, bins. There are significant benefits to mental health from being outdoors, this new park provides more reasons to get outside.
The new car-park and zebra crossing just off Thoresby Road will allow those wishing to drive to the park a place to park securely, cross safely and enjoy a wonderful walk in the woods.
Whilst the bees will be working hard pollinating the local gardens, we will be including many ecological improvements to the entire park to encourage the maximum diversity of urban wildlife we can possibly sustain. To name but a few, we will be building nine wildlife and habitat ponds on the site (where none currently exist) to encourage invertebrates to live, birds to drink and encourage insects. We will be implementing bat box schemes across the network of trees, too. Insect log-stacks will be added across the site which will come following our tree management & maintenance programme encouraging all manner of wild insects and mammals to have a place to thrive. Our ecological survey has identified a paucity of wildlife across the site and this can, and will, be vastly improved.
LET'S MAKE IT WORK
HOW THIS IS FUNDED
Many stakeholders have been brought together to promote this opportunity to unify four pieces of land under multiple ownerships to create a fully funded, master-planned public park using private money from the construction of 11 houses. To make this happen, over £1 million will be invested in this park scheme, including employing the services of parkland architects, ecologists, tree experts, invasive species experts, land owners, residents, volunteers and advisory bodies. The extra parcel of land will be donated into public ownership as detailed below.
The promoters and applicants of this vision are Bramcote Unity Park Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) Ltd, which will be registered should planning permission be granted. We are incorporated to achieve the objective of the creation of the Bramcote Unity Park. Through the combination of companies house and adhering to the charity commissions rules, openness and transparency is achieved. We are in the process of forming our elected and appointed board, both at Executive and Non-Executive level, and would be delighted to receive emails of interest of any interested parties who would like to join us.
The land on which the 11 houses will sit, in a small percentage of the 11 acres of currently private land, will fund the £1m+ investment into the creation of this park and a construction partner will be identified if planning is obtained.
INVESTMENT & LONG-TERM STEWARDSHIP
The money obtained from the enabling development will not only fund the capital investment for the creation of the facilities within the park, but also a £200,000 ongoing fund invested at the outset to allow for ongoing maintenance of the park. With diligent management of this money, grant aid moving forward & involvement of the community, this park will thrive long into the future for all residents to enjoy. We are so proud to be part of protecting green space for future generations to come.
To be part of this exciting project, fill in the enquiry form on the contact page. Positions we will be looking to fill are within the following fields, the list is not exhaustive but will include:
- Financial expertise
- Executive & Non-executive roles
- Bee keepers
- General volunteers
To enable the creation of the Park and it's many projects, the construction of 11 family homes will need to take place. These houses are to be built with the ecology & environment in mind and be most sensitive to their new parkland surroundings.
Two areas for this small development have been identified & shown on the Master Plan:
1) An area behind existing residential dwellings at the top of
Sandy Lane for two houses.
2) An area to the North of the site, lying at the lowest level, immediately adjacent to existing housing.
The main body of the currently privately owned land will be handed into the CIO company meaning this space will be fully-funded for public use, forever. This land is the missing piece of the jigsaw to unite and create a flowing Unity parkland for all to enjoy.
Should planning permission be granted, the building plots will be developed to further fund the project.