Derbyshire homes on contaminated site set to get green light

Dozens of homes on a contaminated site next to a Derbyshire reservoir are set for approval.

Monday, 1st November 2021, 2:38 pm
Butterley Reservoir

The site in question, next to Asher Lane Business Park and Butterley Reservoir and the A38, north of Ripley, is a former coal mine and landfill.

It needs a vast amount of work to make it fit for people to live on, investigation reports provided by the developer detail.

Amber Valley Borough Council officers have recommended that plans from UIM Properties Ltd to build around 50 homes on the site are approved.

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This is subject to significant remediation, including measures to prevent any contamination leaching into water supplies.

Major concerns have been raised over contamination, flooding and potential damage to the historic Butterley Tunnel beneath the site.

The Environment Agency says 3.55 metres of flood water could engulf the access road – Asher Lane – in a one-in-100 year flood event with the additional impact of climate change.

It says this would have a hazard rating of “danger for all people”.

The EA also says the site must have a large range of measures in place to avoid contamination leaching into waterways otherwise development would pose an “unacceptable risk to the environment”.

A decision will be made by councillors on Monday, November 8, more than two years after the developer submitted its proposed plans.

The developer has not specified how many homes it would like to build on the brownfield site off Asher Lane, referring to “XX dwellings” and “residential development” in its application documents.

A proposed layout of the homes appears to show around 50 properties while documents also appear to show that this scheme is the first part of a larger development.

Council plans for the site in its now scrapped submission local plan – a blueprint for future development – had listed Asher Lane Business Park (North) and Asher Lane Business Park (South) as sites for prospective housing.

The north site was earmarked for 85 homes and the south was listed for 92 homes – a combined total of 177.

Pentrich Parish Council, Ripley Town Council, local borough councillor Valerie Thorpe, local county councillor Paul Moss and 12 nearby households have all objected to the plans.

They make clear that they welcome the development of a former industrial site, as opposed to on fields and in the protected Green Belt, but raise many concerns about this particular plot.

Among the concerns are the potential merging of Pentrich with Ripley, by building on land such as this in the “buffer zone”, and that local services such as shops, schools and health services are either too far away and/or oversubscribed.

They say the site has “serious issues” with flooding and that this is heightened due to neighbouring Butterley Reservoir.

The borough council says in its report recommending approval: “The previous use of the development site as a historic landfill, historic mining activities with mine shafts/adits, other mining features, foundry buildings, varied locations of railway sidings and tunnel under the site, as well as extensive excavations which present a medium/high risk of contamination that could be mobilised during construction to pollute controlled waters.”