Opinion is divided over a new housing masterplan for Chesterfield.
Three hundred homes could be built on greenfield land off Linacre Road as part of a major proposal.
The 37-acre Holme Hall site will be put up for sale by Chesterfield Borough Council – which currently owns the land – in the autumn.
Councillor Terry Gilby, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for planning, said: “Once we have agreed a sale, the housing developer would need to make a planning application to put forward detailed proposals of the type and exact number of houses they would want to build.”
Members of the public would have the opportunity to comment on any future planning application.
If planning permission is given, it is expected building work could start in summer 2018.
Coun Gilby said: “As with all developments of this type, we will be seeking for up to 30 per cent of the housing to be affordable homes.”
A council spokesman added: “Residents had the opportunity to find out more about the plans at a consultation event last October, which was attended by 200 people.
“More than 90 written comments were received following the event.
“We have taken residents’ views into account when developing the masterplan.”
Commenting on our Facebook page, Carmen Berghammer said: “Good. Chesterfield definitely needs more houses.”
Amanda Stevens said: “Fantastic news.”
Andrew Slack said: “Good business by the council years ago to buy this land. The money (from the sale) can help to protect services and jobs now grant funding is getting tight.”
Ian Smith said: “We need housing but why not use brownfield sites first rather than destroy countryside?”
Anna Tesdale said: “This is sad. It’s a beautiful spot used by many.”
Stevan Chambers said: “There are loads of empty houses already in Chesterfield.”
Elaine Taylor said: “Why build on greenfield land? Soon they will be complaining about loss of wildlife and destruction of the environment.”
Q: Why is the council proposing development of this greenfield site when there are brownfield sites still to be developed?
A: The council says: “We are required to provide for sufficient land to meet the borough’s housing need of 7,600 new homes by 2031 (equivalent to 380 new homes a year) as set out in the approved Local Plan, published in 2013. All councils are legally required to do this by the Government. While the majority of new homes (around 60 per cent) are expected to be on previously developed land, we do need to identify some greenfield locations in order to meet this target.”
Q: Will the development lead to increased traffic?
A: The council says: “Any planning application would need to be accompanied by a full transport assessment. This would be scrutinised by Derbyshire County Council to ensure development would not compromise highway safety or the correct functioning of the area’s highway network. If needed, the county council – which is responsible for highaways – has the ability to request that financial contributions or physical works are carried out by any developer to mitigate any adverse impact on the highway.”
Q: What will be the impact on facilities such as the primary school, health centre and shops?
A: The council says: “The county council has confirmed that Holme Hall Primary School is currently under-capacity and is able to take additional pupils generated by new housing. We have the powers to require developers to make a financial contribution towards increasing capacity if needed. GP surgery places are addressed in a similar way. If the area’s clinical commissioning group identifies a capacity issue, they can ask that the council seeks a contribution towards meeting that need from a developer. The area already has good provision of shops for day-to-day needs.”
Q: What will be the impact on wildlife habitats? Will the existing trees and hedgerows be preserved?
A: The council says: “We have sought advice from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust in preparing the masterplan and carried out ecological surveys. Where possible, existing trees and hedgerows have been retained on the masterplan and a scheme of new landscaping and planting will be a requirement of any new development.”
Q: How would disruption during construction be minimised?
A: The council says: “Developers have to maintain set standards during construction. For example, they must avoid tracking mud on to roads and have appropriate hours of working.”
Q: There is a history of mining in the area. What effects will this have?
A: The council says: “We have already carried out surveys to identify any historic areas of mining. The masterplan layout has been designed with this in mind.”
For further information about the masterplan, visit www.chesterfield.gov.uk/linacre-road