Battle for surgery goes on

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News

PLANS to demolish a historic building, to make way for a new surgery have been given fresh hope, after councillors voted to reconsider conservation area boundaries.

At a packed meeting of Chesterfield Borough Council, members of the scrutiny committee heard how a town centre conservation area was extended - to include the former Manor College building on Ashgate Road - without proper consultation with residents.

The council decision to extend the boundary was brought under scrutiny, after councillor responded to complaints from their constituents - many of who were at the meeting.

Many residents want to see the building demolished so a new surgery can be built.

Cllr Trevor Reynolds said he was “disgusted” at the lack of engagement with the public, which saw the recommended six-week consultation period slashed to just ten days.

The council’s head of development management, Paul Staniforth said the decision to rush the process was down to “a need for urgency” as demolishing the building posed a threat to the area’s character.

He said: “The sooner the conservation area was designated, the sooner the council had an element of control over the character of the area.”

But scrutiny vice-chair, Cllr Denise Hawksworth, said she was convinced the threat to Manor College was behind the extension of the boundaries and said protecting a single building from demolition was not an acceptable reason to do so.

Chair of the scrutiny board, Cllr Vicki Lang, said: “I think the people who came along today with questions over this issue have seen that the council has got procedures in place to challenge decisions made if the feeling is that they are unjust or are not in the best interests of the public of Chesterfield.”

The issue will be reheard by Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet, at a meeting on September 6.

l What do you think about the plans? Email comment@derbyshiretimes.co.uk

ellie.hunter@derbyshiretimes.co.uk