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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 August, 2004, 17:54 GMT 18:54 UK
Living with your house on the line

By Brady Haran
BBC iCan reporter

Kathleen Bracey
Kathleen Bracey opposes the plans

Kathleen Bracey is blind.

But using only her memory and sense of touch, she has learned to move around her small Nottingham flat.

Unfortunately for Mrs Bracey, 82, her home has been earmarked for demolition to make way for a tram line.

Her flat is one of 21 homes to be razed at Neville Sadler Court, a sheltered accommodation complex nestled between two cul-de-sacs.

Under the favoured plan for the expansion of Nottingham's tram system, Mrs Bracey and many of her fellow residents will be moved into new flats to be built nearby.

Take a pictorial look at the plans - and the people who will lose their homes

But the prospect of new homes does not appeal to the elderly people of Neville Sadler Court.

Mrs Bracey feels she is making way for a tram line she thinks is pointless.

She says: "I think the anger was there because I didn't see the necessity of the whole business.

"Whatever reorganisation is made in regard to public transport, it is still not going to remove the car from the road."

Jennie Newberry, 86, who will also lose her home at Neville Sadler Court, says tram planners are preoccupied with saving money.

She says: "They're trying to save a few coppers (by using) the quickest way through.

woman paints tram line along her driveway
A woman paints the planned tram line along her driveway

"Someone's gone up in plane, looked down, and thought 'that's a good route'.

"They've not thought about people's feelings or anything."

The people behind Nottingham's tram system, known as NET, do not share this view.

The development manager for phase two of NET, Chris Deas, says the planned routes were carefully selected with help from the public.

He says: "We involve the public at every stage and as such have conducted an unprecedented amount of public consultation."

Many factors were used to choose the tram routes, including integration with other transport, environmental impact, operational capability and cost benefit.

My husband died here and I don't want to leave
Edna Butler

The first tram route, Line One, opened in March and connects the city centre with Hucknall.

Mr Deas says it has been "very popular" and more than 20,000 passengers use it every day.

Phase two involves construction of two routes - Line Two (city to Clifton) and Line Three (city to Chilwell via Beeston).

It is hoped construction work will start in 2007 and trams will be running on the new lines by 2010.

'Home for a baby'

But people who oppose the plans are hopeful they will influence the plan at a public inquiry scheduled for 2005.

Dr Karen Neil, whose home in Chilwell is scheduled for demolition, says she and her husband want to start a family and cannot bear to be in limbo.

She says: "We're both sensible people, but when you're thinking of a home for a baby, then the thought of it being demolished is absolutely devastating."

Back at Neville Sadler Court, 72-year-old Edna Butler faces losing a different kind of family home.

One down and two to go - see all three tram routes.

She says: "My husband died here, in the same flat I'm still in, and I just don't want to leave it.

"It holds too many memories for me."

Mr Deas says NET is sympathetic to those who are affected, but the bigger tram network would "bring immense long-term benefits to the people of Nottingham... (and) help sustain district centres like Beeston".

"We do however recognise that in developing NET there may be localised effects that are detrimental to some individuals.

"We will try to minimise this wherever possible and when it cannot be avoided, will maintain an open dialogue with those affected."

While local authorities have given in-principle support to the proposed routes, compulsory property acquisitions cannot be made until the government grants a Transport and Works Act order.

The BBC's Brady Haran
"Elderly residents will be moved into new flats"

Councillor Mick Warner
"I have a postbag that is massive on this issue"

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01 Jul 04  |  Nottinghamshire
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22 Jan 04  |  Nottinghamshire
In Pictures: Nottingham's new trams
22 Jan 04  |  Photo Gallery


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