There are extensive flood storage areas along the Trent and Fairham Brook. The Green Belt partly overlaps this area, and is established between Wilford and Ruddington. Both designations prohibit new buildings. North of Wilford Lane, the site of the Chateau will be given over to housing, and two large new secondary schools will be built. Both types of development will add to tram trafic.
Subject to the above, it is government planning guidance to steer development towards recognised transport corridors such as tramlines, raise densities in low-density residential areas - Wilford is a good example - and consolidate urban areas. All this will lead to more traffic for the CW tram.
It is also government planning guidance to safeguard disused railway routes for possible reuse as fresh transport links. Nottinghamshire County Structure Plan policy 5/3, adopted 1996, replicates this, and a similar policy is proposed in the emerging Replacement County Structure Plan. The CW tram is routed along Wilford embankment, an earthwork built a century ago to carry a busy main-line railway, the London extension of the former Great Central.
|A southbound tram at speed passing Shelton Avenue, between Butlers Hill and Moor Bridge tram stops. A little further up, there is housing right next to the track.|
There is wildlife on Wilford embankment and in Wilford village, from the sporadic wild growth of trees and shrubs after the railway closed in 1974. The embankment and Iremongers Pond in the village are Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC). There are no Local or National Nature Reserves, nor any Site of Special Scientific Interest on the embankment or around the pond. The wildlife is not very high status, and the habitats are replaceable.
NET will provide extensive fresh landscaping. A drainage survey will be conducted regarding the tram impact and mitigation required in proximity to Wilwell Cutting Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) south of Wilford. An Environmental Statement will be prepared by NET, covering all remedial works for both construction and operation of the tramline.
Recreation on Wilford embankment
The embankment is very modestly used by dog walkers and joggers. This is especially the case with the embankment north of Wilford Lane, likely explaining why it is very overgrown at the Wilford Lane entry. Compton Acres has a smattering of small play areas for young children, and the 6.5 acre Ruddington Lane recreation ground is available for the population each side of the embankment. For longer-distance walkers, there is a remarkable abundance of public open space around Wilford, along the Trent and Fairham Brook, and as indicated above, protection is given by strict planning policies and control. NET will provide a replacement footpath at ground level next to the tram tracks from Wilford village to Ruddington Lane industrial estate, linking the housing to the tram stops.
Nearly all of the houses on the Wilford side of Wilford embankment, about 100, were built when the Great Central railway route was thriving with steam locomotion.
Compton Acres housing estate postdates the railway closure. Those houses which are closest to the embankment are 30 to 66 feet from the future tram track, but this is no closer than if the track were otherwise projected down a major highway. Many houses along Line One at Butlers Hill and Hucknall are closer to the track. At present there is intermittent road traffic noise from Ruddington Lane, Compton Acres Road, Rugby Road, and especially Wilford Lane.
This traffic noise will get worse if we donít have a tram network for Nottingham.
The trams will be much quieter than the old steam trains ever were, and the route will be landscaped next to the housing.
Quite frequently at the planning stage for a tram route, people living adjacent future track have unecessary anxiety about the value of their homes.
But all the experience of tram operation in other UK cities and abroad shows that wherever tramways are built, property values go UP!! The rental values of industrial premises rise, and land values increase. Trams are well-used, fast and convenient, so it is not surprising demand for housing, and thus market values, rise close to tram stops.
|Two trams calling at The Forest tram stop. A middle track here connects at each end of the platforms to the northbound and southbound tracks.|
Building such a complex development as a tramline must not produce a crude scar across the landscape. Heavy mitigation is required whilst building the CW route.
In the Meadows the CW route will run along Queens Walk. This was once a road with vehicular traffic. Its tree-lining is attractive, but the inner line of trees has to be felled.
In Wilford village, since the tram will run between the wildlife habitat of Iremongers Pond and the conservation area for local historic buildings, a high standard of tree planting is required. Alterations to the flood defences and flood storage need care.
The embankment north of Wilford Lane will be retained, and the tramline built at ground level on the West Bridgford side.
South of Wilford Lane tree planting and fencing will be provided to screen the tram and reduce noise where it runs close to houses. The derelict embankment here will be demolished in order to release over 70 feet of land width at the base, and integrate the ground level tram track alignment with a street crossing over the Lane. Placing the tram tracks roughly in the centre of the width enables buffers 24 feet wide each side to be provided for landscaping. On the Compton Acres side, a new footpath will be constructed from Wilford Lane to Ruddington Lane tram stops. Since the working railway had no trees and shrubs on the embankment slopes, those freshly planted next to the tram will produce a better amenity in respect of noise than ever experienced by the past generation of embankment residents alongside the railway.
The drainage question at Wilwell Cutting nature reserve requires resolution with any compensatory measures. The tram route would not actually cross into the SSSI, but would run close.
The tramway will cross the fields south of Silverdale. NET intend to convert 10 acres of farmland here to woodland with footpaths, and extend the compensatory site towards Farnborough Road, Clifton, over the present Clifton playing fields.
The tram will enter Clifton estate on Farnborough Road. The remainder of the route is on-street, so mitigation required is not high. Bays will accommodate the trams next to the shops in the centre of Clifton.
Instead of the present Wilford embankment - poorly used, unattractive, and derelict in a suburban area - let us have an imaginative and fresh landscape created around the CW tram!
|A tram bound for Hucknall calls at the island platform of Bulwell, built on the site of the former down platform on the Robin Hood Line.|