The former Walton Works has been identified as an important brownfield site for development in the town – and plans have previously been submitted for up to 400 homes, shops and other facilities on the sprawling wider site on Chatsworth Road.
However, Chesterfield Borough Council says various schemes proposed have repeatedly ‘failed’ because of ‘the lack of a viable plan’ for the conversion of the grade II* listed mill at its heart.
The Walton Works building is the former Robinson healthcare factory – and land owners Robinson issued a statement to the Derbyshire Times this week.
A spokesperson said: “Robinson are actively looking for a buyer of the Walton Works site, and are in discussion with a number of interested parties.
"They hope that development of the site will move forward in the coming months.”
Council leaders in Chesterfield have admitted they face an ongoing ‘balancing act’ to meet housing demand while ensuring the town’s treasured green spaces are not lost.
Coun Tricia Gilby, leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said the authority ‘never puts Green Belt land forward for development, and always consider how brownfield land can be used wherever this is viable’.
Liberal Democrat group leader Paul Holmes said: “If developers prefer to build on green field sites rather than brownfield, the council cannot stop them. Green field sites are of course quicker, easier, more attractive and more profitable.”
He says this is why large ex-industrial sites such as Walton Works tend to stand unused, while green field sites ‘are quickly snapped up’.
A spokesperson for Chesterfield Borough Council said: “Over the years there have been a number of schemes and proposals for the Robinson’s owned Walton Works, most of which have failed on managing to come up with a viable plan for the conversion and re-use of the grade II* listed mill.
"Then an application was submitted for apartments, homes and a foodstore, however there were legal agreements needed on a number of issues but most revolved around the listed mill, the developer never came forward with these agreements and permission was never granted.
"We are now awaiting another proposal from Robinson.”