North East Derbyshire District Council’s Planning Committee voted against the outline application for 397 homes on land south west of Upperthorpe Road, Killamarsh, in a meeting in which nearly 20 people spoke against the plans – including the district’s MP.
When the Tories came to power their attempts to save it failed and the land was released from Green Belt protection, leaving it open for development when the final Local Plan was adopted in November.
MP for North East Derbyshire Lee Rowley told the meeting: “This application exceeds the number of houses that are in the Local Plan.”
Councillor Stephen Clough, Chairman of Killamarsh Parish Council, commented: “This is a significant extension to the settlement of Killamarsh – there is landscaping, impacts to the highway network and localised amenities impact.”
Fellow parish councillor Wendy Tinley raised concerns over the ‘irreversible loss’ of Medieval archaeology on the land, which she called a ‘potentially important time capsule’.
Killamarsh R.A.G.E (Residents Against Greenbelt Erosion) has been fighting this development for 10 years with nearly 200 letters of objection sent in to the planning department regarding the site.
A report by the Coal Authority states there are five mine shafts on the site, one of which is yet to be located, and former Westthorpe Colliery worker Kenneth Warnes said it was possible methane gas could have collected in the old mine workings, which he claimed could explode if disturbed.
Speaking on behalf of applicant the Harworth Group, Joanne Neville said the application included 20 per cent affordable housing and contributions towards education, health and sport provision.
She added: “It integrates open space and drainage and creates six hectares of on-site open public space and two kilometres of additional pedestrian and cycle connections.
“I appreciate that there is still local opposition to the principle of development of this site, but the council has had to address its future housing need and concluded that Killamarsh is an appropriate sustainable location.”
Members refused the application on the grounds that it exceeded the number of houses in the Local Plan, lacked good transport links, featured inappropriate development of Green Belt land for drainage, was potentially contaminated and unstable as a result of old mine workings, did not make sufficient contribution to infrastructure and would impact upon traffic, the environment and public rights of way.