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Is EMDA out of control?

The East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA) announced in October 1999 that its main strategy is to move the region from 40th out of 77 regions in the EU upto 20th, as measured by per capita GDP - that is, from the bottom of the First Division to the bottom of the Premier League in footballing terms. (See their strategy at Since then, sustainability in the East Midlands has suffered a triple whammy:


It is becoming clear that EMDA's central objective is to promote a massive expansion of business around East Midlands Airport and Junction 24 on the M1.
   EMDA Chair, Derek Mapp, told a consultation meeting in Nottingham on 22 September 1999 that he agreed with the Government's target of building 60% of new houses on brownfield sites. That means the other 40% will be built on green belt, he said. So it is better to put them close to where there will be business expansion - around the airport, said Mapp.


Now there is a plan to build a new railway station in the middle of nowhere on green belt land at Ratcliffe-on-Soar. It is claimed this will serve the airport (which is 4 miles away) through a bus link.
   FOE says a station should be built at the airport itself. A spur could be run from a goods line which runs just 2 miles North of the airport.
   The real reason for the Parkway station is to open up adjacent greenbelt land near J24 for development.
   A planning application was submitted to Rushcliffe Borough Council in June 2000.  See separate page for details. 


A plan to link Nottingham, Derby and Leicester into a "super city" was revealed in the Evening Post on 4 December 1999. Director of Residential Development at Nottingham Trent University, Professor Alan Hooper, has proposed building houses in the green belt along the main roads between these cities.
   He was speaking after a House Builders' Federation conference.
   Martin Freeman of EMDA said
"This is the kind of imaginative thought that the region needs to capture our vision to develop the East Midlands into the European premier league."


To summarise, if the Mad Prof and his megalomaniac friends get their way we can expect to see a new city centre around J24, with a nearby mainline parkway station. This will turn Nottingham and Derby into suburbs served by branch lines. The East Midlands will start to look like the West Midlands.
   Leicester, Derby and Nottingham City Councils have joined forces to oppose these plans. "Uncontrolled development could suck away our commercial vitality," says Nottingham Council Leader Graham Chapman. It is also contrary to Government policy on sustainability, he says.

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Updated 4 June 2000 Home page Return to top of page