Five things we learned in Derbyshire this week

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From a row between a school and parents about smoking, to a Chesterfield GP being judged as ‘outstanding’, here’s what has been making the headlines this week:

1. More than 400 new homes, shops and a pub could be built across 25 acres of brownfield land in Chesterfield – including a derelict factory site – under major redevelopment plans.

Chesterfield Borough Council has received a planning application to breathe new life into the former Walton Works site and vacant land to the south of it in a scheme which promises to create a ‘significant’ number of jobs.

The application seeks full planning permission to restore and convert the Grade II listed Walton Works building – formerly the Robinson healthcare factory – into four ground-floor retail units with 26 apartments above.

A separate nearby block would consist of 11 more properties.

The Walton Works building – which had been vacant for at least 13 years – is in a poor state and has been placed on Historic England’s ‘at risk’ register.

In addition, outline planning permission is being sought for 382 additional homes and apartments, two retail units and a pub on the rest of the sprawling site off Chatsworth Road, which also takes in the vacant Goyt Side Mill and Boythorpe industrial estate.

2. A row has broken out between parents and Whittington Green School - after pupils were searched by police officers and cigarettes seized.

The action took place at the school on Friday and one mother said she was shocked to find out what happened - branding it an over-reaction.

But officials at the county council say a police visit was warranted in a bid to stop pupils who refused to stop smoking.

Derbyshire police confirmed the school requested a visit and seized cigarettes from pupils.

Officers said: “We can confirm that we were invited into Whittington Green School this morning to address concerns of the headteacher.

“Five children had cigarettes seized from them and were given advice. All five admitted they either smoked or had been in the company of smokers. It is illegal for under 16s to be in possession of tobacco and pupils are not allowed to bring cigarettes into school.

3. A stark warning has been issued after a businessman was convicted of ‘serious’ fire safety crimes.

Following a trial, John Cashin was found guilty of five offences relating to premises on Church Drive in Shirebrook and fined £1,000.

Cashin, 46, of Over Lane, Baslow, rented the property from its owner and then went on to sub-let the premises to four individual tenants, according to Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service (DFRS).

Fire inspectors visited the property last June after receiving a complaint for the occupants’ safety.

DFRS said they identified several breaches of legislation, including an apparent lack of a fire risk assessment, a lack of window escapes from the first floor and an inadequate fire detection and alarm system. Several smoke alarms were found in a kitchen drawer.

In July, the service issued an enforcement notice ordering Cashin to address the breaches. However, he failed to do so and legal proceedings were launched.

Phil Mitchell, DFRS group manager, said: “When people rent a bedsit or rooms in a property with other tenants, they should expect to be able to safely leave the property in an emergency situation. To enable this, a suitable fire alarm system must be present along with access to an emergency exit that can be accessed and safely used.

4. More than 650 new homes could be built and 1,500 jobs created under a masterplan for the derelict Coalite site.

Proposals to transform the toxic former site off Buttermilk Lane, Shuttlewood, could also see new community facilities and a primary school.

North East Derbyshire District Council is expected to consider the outline planning application - submitted by Bolsover Land Limited - in March.

The Coalite site, which has lain derelict since 2004, has been dubbed an eyesore and health hazard by residents.

Nigel Lax, of Bolsover Land Limited, said: “The proposed development can deliver significant benefits.

“It would provide 660 high-quality new homes, enhanced by green infrastructure well connected to footpaths and cycleways.

“Based on similar schemes, we would expect to see in the region of 1,500 jobs when the site is fully occupied.

“There would be new community facilities incorporating a local retail offer, attractive public realm and play space and land set aside for a new primary school.”

5. A Chesterfield surgery is celebrating being judged as ‘outstanding’ by a health watchdog.

Whittington Moor Surgery – which is run by six GPs and helps about 7,525 patients – was awarded the top mark by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after an inspection.

Dr Elizabeth Church, a partner at the surgery on Scarsdale Road, said: “We are all delighted to have received an ‘outstanding’ rating from the CQC. The rating is testament to the hard work of all the staff at Whittington Moor Surgery. Our aim is to provide the best care possible for our patients. This means ensuring they are treated with compassion, dignity and respect at all times and involving them in decisions about their treatment and care.