Build the right homes in the right places during Derbyshire's housing boom

I’ve said it before in these pages, but I think we live in a fantastic part of the world.

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 8:23 am

Now it seems I’m not alone in that opinion.

North Derbyshire is undergoing something of a housing boom – and there is huge demand for homes here, as it’s such a great place to live.

Value and location have been hailed as key drivers in a boom in people looking to purchase a home in the area – which is helping support a number of major property developments.

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New homes at Waterside development Chesterfield from Avant Homes.

As local estate agent Mat Barnes explained, Chesterfield is also strategically placed for house-hunters from across the area – and further afield.

“We are a lot cheaper than Sheffield or Nottingham,” he said, “but we have three junctions of the M1, and you can be at East Midlands Airport in an hour, or London in two hours by train.”

We know that there is a strong demand for homes – but they need to be the right kind of homes, built in the right places.

That’s why we launched our Save Our Green Spaces campaign to encourage appropriate development in Derbyshire.

Fortunately Chesterfield in particular seems to be ahead of the curve when it comes to using brownfield sites for development and repurposing existing buildings for town-centre living.

Use of the former Arnold Laver and Trebor sites as part of the huge Waterside development is one great example.

Others include the conversion of empty buildings like the former magistrates court and justice centre into town centre apartments.

This week we report on planners – quite rightly – refusing to let developers add another two storeys onto Burlington House in Chesterfield town centre.

The building – already one that doesn’t really sit well with the rest of the town’s architecture – would look even more out of place if it loomed over the townscape, especially so close to the Crooked Spire.

But the plan to turn the accommodation above the ground-floor shops into apartments is absolutely the right thing to do.

It will help with the continuing moves to turn our town centre from somewhere we ‘just’ shop, eat and work into a living and breathing community that can evolve over time.