Planning experts raise concerns about bid for hundreds of homes, school and new pub in Chesterfield
Planning officers have raised concerns about parts of a controversial proposal to build hundreds of new homes on the edge of Chesterfield.
Dozens of residents have objected to the Dunston Grange development of 500 houses, a school and a pub or supermarket amid claims it will merge the communities of Upper Newbold, Cutthorpe and Dunston.
Derbyshire County Council officers have completed a report which criticises elements of the proposal – particularly relating to the proposed shopping centre.
Chris Henning, executive director of Place, the county council’s former economy, transport and environment department, said he was ‘wholly unconvinced by the proposed location for the local centre’.
“This location looks to be less about local provision and more about passing trade,” his report to planning authority Chesterfield Borough Council says.
"How long would it take for a resident living in the south west corner of this proposed development to walk to this local centre to do their shopping?
"I do not consider this location at the periphery of the development encourages sustainable travel and would be much better located at the heart of the community where it could also serve the wider community.”
He added: “I also consider that the current location of the centre would make it feel more disconnected from the community it is intended to serve and could encourage less desirable activity as there is very little or no opportunity for community surveillance.”
Residents’ objections continue to pour in for the application by William Davis Homes.
One recent letter by Jackie Williams said: “Soon Cutthorpe and Barlow will be joined to Chesterfield instead of little villages, not to mention the impact on hedgerows and wildlife.
"Get a grip please, even our services couldn't cope with this amount of housing.”
However, in a blow to campaigners, Chesterfield and District Civic Society says it can find no heritage reasons for objecting.
Society chairman Philip Riden said the houses ‘will be too far away’ to impact on the setting of Dunston Grange or Dunston Hall.
He added that because the land for development is already zoned for housing in Chesterfield Borough Council’s Local Plan it may be difficult to oppose the proposal in its entirety.
A William Davis Homes spokesperson said the development will include ‘significant open space’ and a ‘local centre’ for the community.