Derbyshire council denies being secretive over sale of land needed for new homes development

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A Derbyshire council has denied claims it is not being open about the sale process for a piece of land considered vital for a major housing development.

Bolsover District Council has formally revealed it wishes to sell a parcel of land off Park Avenue, Glapwell, which has been dubbed the ‘last piece in the jigsaw’ for development on the site.

A group of residents have been protesting about a plan to build 62 homes on land off Park Avenue, in addition to a further 65 properties nearby.

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They say their amenities will be ‘stretched to breaking point’ and claim the amount of traffic created both during the building work and after will ruin their way of life.

Protests about the removal removal of trees for a development in Glapwell.Protests about the removal removal of trees for a development in Glapwell.
Protests about the removal removal of trees for a development in Glapwell.

Stuart Hill, who owns Glapwell Nurseries, has secured planning permission to build the 62 homes – but access to the site is dependent on sale of the land.

The council published a ‘notice of intention to dispose’ of the land, which it owns and lists as an asset of community value, on November 30.

This was 10 days after the decision was taken – with a meeting of Glapwell Parish Council being held in the meantime – and campaigners claim this shows a lack of ‘public openness from officers’.

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The council says it has followed correct legal procedures throughout the process.

Sarah Bister, from the Park Avenue Avengers campaign group, said: “Ten days have elapsed, along with a Glapwell Parish Council meeting on November 26. No meeting is scheduled for December. Again Bolsover District Council is behaving in a manner that we cannot trust.

“Making the sale public earlier would have been so much easier on the parish council.”

A Bolsover District Council spokesperson said: “There are two separate legal processes involved here, not one.

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“The consultation on the open space ran from September 10 until October 16, 2020, after which it was considered and a decision arrived at on November 20.

“The Monitoring Officer (MO) was then informed of the council decision to sell the land.

"The MO is informed so that the second process can start – advertising the intended sale of an asset of community value (ACV) under the Localism Act 2011.

“The ACV process follows the decision on the open space consultation/sale but is not related to it.

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"As was explained at council, when this was raised as a question, there is a specific legal process to go through under the Localism Act 2011 when dealing with an ACV. This is what is now being implemented.

“In terms of dates, the process for the ACV was put in place as quickly as circumstances allowed. This was done expeditiously.”

The spokesperson said the date of the parish council meeting was ‘not a relevant issue’ in terms of implementing the ACV process under the Localism Act.

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However, campaigners say the pandemic has further highlighted the need for green space, and have also called for the developer to find an alternative access route.

The council says any request to be treated as a potential bidder for the land must be submitted before January 1, 2021.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.

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