Derbyshire villagers' 'disappointment' as treasured green space sold for development and fenced off
Community leaders in a Derbyshire village say they are ‘disappointed’ after the sale of a treasured area of green space for development.
Villagers have said their facilities will be ‘stretched to breaking point’ by the plans to build 62 homes on land off Park Avenue, in addition to a further 65 properties nearby.
Glapwell Parish Council chairman, Councillor Tony Trafford, has written an open letter to district council leader, Councillor Steve Fritchley, to express his concern at the sale.
Coun Trafford said: “The community of Glapwell are very disappointed that, despite their best efforts, to persuade you otherwise, the district council has chosen to sell their Registered Community Asset, Park Avenue Wood, for development.
"This is especially disappointing since it is the only formally registered Community Asset in the district of Bolsover.”
The Park Avenue Avengers, who have fought a campaign against the development throughout the pandemic, said they ‘couldn’t express their disappointment enough’.
Spokesperson Sarah Bister said their petition to save the green space was ‘completely ignored’.
Campaigners returned from a Bolsover District Council meeting – where they discovered the land had already been sold – to find fencing being installed at the site.
“The executive committee made the decision to sell the land while they were aware of the motion and the petition,” Sarah said.
"And then the full council meeting when the motion was carried for the sale to have covenants on they revealed the sale had already been completed.”
Coun Trafford is now calling for the money raised from the sale to benefit people in the village and asked district council to use it to fund development of the Glapwell Centre.
"If this sale can no longer be prevented, it is only just that the people of Glapwell should gain some benefit from the loss of their communal asset,” he said.
“Given that the size of the community will increase substantially with the new developments, that need will be even more pressing.
"It would be some recompense to our community if the proceeds of the sale from the asset were to be used in Glapwell for the benefit of the community which has suffered the loss, either at the centre or on other community benefit.”
The trees on the land are believed to be some of the oldest in the district and they are home to protected species such as bats.
Campaigners say the Covid-19 pandemic and increasing number of people working from home means green spaces are more important than ever.
We approached Bolsover District Council for comment but they have not responded.
Developer Stuart Hill has said the new homes will ‘strengthen local business, employment and community life’.
He previously told us: “The development will be of a high standard and taking everything into account, it will enhance Glapwell and support local businesses to prosper.”