BOLSOVER: Toxic site to be redeveloped

NDET 14-5-13 RKH 2   Joan Liddle outside Coalite plant.
NDET 14-5-13 RKH 2 Joan Liddle outside Coalite plant.

Ambitious plans have been revealed to transform a strip of toxic waste land in to homes and business units.

Residents say the former Coalite chemical plant is an ugly scar on the landscape and almost ten years after its closure a chemical smell still lingers in the air around the works site.

Now developers want to regenerate the area which could see 800 homes built on the land, retail and community facilities, business units and a green waste energy plant.

Joan Liddle, who has lived close to the site on Chesterfield Road in Shuttlewood for 24 years, said she welcomed the redevelopment.

Mrs Liddle, 66, believes the deadly synthetic chemicals from the plant have polluted land and air and are responsible for health problems in the area.

She added: “One Christmas the whole family were being sick after Christmas dinner because of the stench. We couldn’t believe they were allowed to belch smoke out even on Christmas day. There wasn’t any respite from it.

“Everything used to be covered in black muck and if it snowed it would all be black within days.”

She added: “When we first moved here I started with asthma and I’ve never been off the inhaler. It got so bad I thought I was going to die. I do believe it is linked to Coalite.”

Bolsover Land Ltd, a specialist environmental company, hope to clean up and regenerate Coalite after years of stalled development.

The firm say their plans will bring jobs to the area and address a housing shortage. They are set to host public exhibitions to showcase their proposals next month.

Nigel Lax, development director for Bolsover Land Ltd said: “The site is a key gateway into Bolsover.

“It is heavily contaminated and requires a lot of work just to clean it up. We’ve taken the initiative and started demolition already and expect most of the site to be cleared this summer.”

He added: “The plans could deliver much needed jobs as well as relieving pressure to develop on the greenbelt elsewhere in north east Derbyshire.”

Old Bolsover Town Council has welcomed the plans .

The council gave its approval during its monthly meeting on Tuesday for the demolition works after describing the site as a smelly, eyesore in need of improvement.

Neighbours of the site have welcomed news of the major clean-up.

The water pollution watchdog, The National Rivers Authority, said the river Doe Lea had the world’s highest levels of dioxins, 27 times greater than the next most polluted watercourse in 1994.

While the works were still running sales of dioxin-contaminated milk from farms were banned.

Farmer David Gillies and his wife Dian, live close to the former plant on Chesterfield Road.

Mrs Gillies said: “It’s a horrible approach to the village and the castle is there in the background.”

Mr Gillies added: “It would be good to bring a bit of employment to the area.”

Other Shuttlewood residents also welcomed the news.

Simon Doherty said: “Anything would be better than what’s there now. It’d be good to get a retail park.”

Mandy Gunner added: “Anything that creates jobs would be a good thing,” while Susan Tomlinson said: “I’d rather it was homes than another factory and I hope they do something with the road which runs by as there have been so many accidents.”

Public exhibitions to see the plans will be held on Thursday, June 6 from noon to 5pm at Clowne Community Centre and June 7 from noon to 7.30pm at Bolsover Assembly Hall.