Could 30 new properties be built near Chesterfield College?

The outline planning application proposes 31 new homes at Canal Wharf.
The outline planning application proposes 31 new homes at Canal Wharf.
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The future of an 'important' building in Chesterfield looks brighter after a new planning application - which proposes 30 properties - was submitted.

In July, Chesterfield Civic Society voiced concerns that Thornfield house, which is part of the former offices of the East Midlands Chamber on Canal Wharf near the town's college, faced demolition as part of a proposed housing development.

Thornfield House.

Thornfield House.

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The chamber has now lodged a new outline planning application with Chesterfield Borough Council which proposes the retention and conversion of Thornfield into four flats and the building of 27 new homes on surrounding land.

Philip Riden, the civic society's chairman, said: "This is an excellent outcome, which will bring a welcome addition to the stock of modestly priced houses close to the town centre and a new use for an attractive Georgian house with interesting historical associations.

"I am very pleased the chamber has looked at its plans again.

"The civic society will strongly support the new application."

Scott Knowles, chief executive of the East Midlands Chamber, said: "As a business, we have to try to maximise our return on our investment in the property, which means making it as attractive as possible to an investing developer.

"To that end - and not influenced by the wishes of the civic society in any way - we have submitted an outline planning application that suggests conversion of Thornfield house to four flats, simply to widen the range of dwellings available on the site.

"We would stress, however, that this is only an outline application and what eventually happens to the site will be down to the developer that invests in it."

Mr Riden said that Thornfield was built by Joseph Gratton, who was the Chesterfield Canal Company's 'agent' - a general manager in modern terms - between 1802 and 1839.

Mr Gratton was also a keen amateur scientist and made fireworks for public shows which he put on in Chesterfield market place.

In light of the news about Thornfield, the civic society hopes the owners of the Shrubberies on Newbold Road might now reconsider their intention to demolish the original house there.

Mr Riden added: "The two cases seem very similar.

"If Thornfield can be incorporated in a new housing scheme, we fail to see why the Shrubberies cannot also be saved."