Chesterfield residents battle to save green fields from 500-home and new school development set to 'merge' three neighbourhoods
Chesterfield residents are battling to save a treasured area of green space from a development which they say will bring ‘massive’ changes to their way of life.
The Dunston Grange Residents’ Action Group has been formed to oppose plans to build up to 500 homes, a school and a pub or supermarket on land close to Upper Newbold, Cutthorpe and Dunston.
The area is a greenfield site bordered by greenbelt, and people who live nearby say they will face traffic congestion, the loss of wildlife and a strain on facilities which are already ‘overstretched’ by the nearby 106-home Strata Development and the Skylarks site of 300 homes.
The action group is now awaiting a planning application for the latest development from William Davis Homes.
David Watwood, 63, from Cutthorpe, is a spokesperson for the group and says there are other more suitable sites for a development of this size.
"The residents believe there is enough brownfield land available to be built on in the Chesterfield area, such as at Staveley and Brampton, and therefore why build on greenfield sites before all brownfield sites are exhausted?” he said.
“The proposed site borders greenbelt and this development will have a massive effect in terms of light pollution, traffic pollution and increased litter, which in turn will have a negative effect on the wildlife in the greenbelt area.”
Mr Watwood says the development will ‘merge the settlements of Upper Newbold, Cutthorpe and Dunston’, which will ‘cause the loss of well-established village and community regions’.
"Instead of seeing greenery, fields, and wildlife such as buzzards soaring over the area the view will be of roofs and tarmac,” Mr Watwood said.
The action group is also concerned about traffic pressure and pollution along the already ‘dangerous’ Dunston Road, which they claim is ‘no wider in places than a country lane’.
“There have been and continue to be many accidents on this road including a death and serious injury,” Mr Watwood said.
"Adding an exit from the development onto this road and therefore the potential of 1,000 additional cars from the proposed development will lead to significant traffic queues at the Cutthorpe Four Lanes End junction, through Sheepbridge and at the Whittington Moor roundabout.”
There is already a primary school near the Littlemoor exit of the lane and group members say the ‘significantly increased traffic’ will cause a danger to students and an increase in pollution.
Concerns have also been raised at how existing GP and dental surgeries can cope with an extra 500 households.
William Davis Homes says it is ‘carefully considering all the comments’ it has received about Dunston Grange, but the site has already been allocated for housing as part of Chesterfield Borough Council’s Local Plan.
A spokesperson said: “The proposals for Dunston Grange are at an early stage. As a responsible developer, William Davis Homes has given local people an opportunity to share their views on the plans.
"There have been nearly 200 responses and we are grateful to those who have given their views.”
He said the development will include ‘significant open space’ and a ‘local centre’, which could include a small supermarket and pub.
Chesterfield Borough Council leader, Coun Tricia Gilby, has said the authority always builds on brownfield sites where possible, but admits it faces a ‘balancing act’.