Derbyshire council continues to consider massive housing scheme despite threatened judicial review

Clowne Garden Village Housing Scheme ProtestorsClowne Garden Village Housing Scheme Protestors
Clowne Garden Village Housing Scheme Protestors
Bolsover District Council has confirmed that it is continuing to consider a proposed massive housing development between two Derbyshire villages despite a campaigner’s threat to call for a judicial review into the lawfulness of the plans if the council does not reject the scheme.

Developers Waystone Ltd has submitted a long-running, planning application to the council for the Clowne Garden Village housing scheme for 1,800 properties with 24 hectares of greenfield land for mixed-development and employment, as well as community and commercial facilities between Clowne and Barlborough.

But Clowne Garden Village Action Group campaigner Dom Webb has claimed that when an original planning application was submitted after 2017 it did not match the council’s Local Plan at that time, and when the application was not finalised it was then allegedly allowed to prejudice and be featured in the production of the subsequent 2020 Local Plan.

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However, the council has stated that Waystone hosted a consultation for the council with its Local Plan in mind as long ago as late 2014. and the proposed Clowne Garden Village featured as a suggested strategic site option in a consultation exercise on its Local Plan for Bolsover district as long ago as late 2015.

A council spokesman said: “We have responded to Dom Webb’s correspondence but the current application is continuing and is still being processed.”

Fellow campaigner Roger Dell, of Barlborough, who is also objecting to the planning application has written to the council claiming a previously proposed Clowne Garden Village housing plan for 1,494 homes, from 2017, was put on hold by the council before the council compiled its March, 2020, Local Plan.

Mr Dell claimed that despite having been allegedly removed from consideration, the council included this formally proposed development for 1,494 dwellings in its March, 2020, Local Plan, as part of plans to meet the council’s stipulated target of 5,723 to meet the required level of housing in its Loca Plan required by the National Planning Policy Framework.

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But the council has stated that the Clowne Garden Village plans were also selected as a preferred strategic site option for the Local Plan for Bolsover District in February, 2016, and it also featured as a strategic site allocation in the Local Plan with a consultation, in May, 2018, and it was submitted to the Secretary of State in August, 2018, for an examination by the Local Plan Inspector.

In addition, The Clowne Garden Village Strategic Site Allocation was found to be sound and acceptable within the Local Plan Inspector’s Report published in January, 2020, into the examination of the Local Plan for Bolsover district, according to the council.

Bolsover District Council finally added that Clowne Garden Village properly featured as a strategic site allocation in the Local Plan for Bolsover district which was adopted in March, 2020.

Council Planning Policy Manager Chris McKinney has stated the council has to meet housing and affordable housing targets because of growing demand and nationwide shortages and there is a strategy to expand Clowne but this particular site could involve a 20-year long process.

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Residents from the nearby villages of Clowne and Barlborough have also complained that the proposed site is on greenfield land that had once included an area of Green Belt, but Mr McKinney has stated that following a robust review “exceptional circumstances” were cited allowing the removal of this area from Green Belt preservation.

However, Mr Webb has since argued that Green Belt land should not have been released from preservation to allow for development and he is calling for this land to be returned to Green Belt protection.

Campaigners opposed to the scheme and Bolsover MP Mark Fletcher have also mainly raised concerns about the development’s impact on highways and existing services, the loss of countryside and wildlife, as well as fears about drainage, flooding and overcrowding.

Both Waystone and the council have been consulting with residents as well as with a large number of organisations including National England, the Coal Authority, the Environment Agency, Highways England, Yorkshire Water, Derbyshire County Council and others.

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During initial proposals, Waystone acknowledged some opposition to the scheme on greenfield land north of Clowne, including part of the village centre off Hickinwood Lane, but they also pointed out that a good number of people were supportive and positive about the plans and welcomed the potential for economic growth, jobs and facilities.

The council’s planning committee had originally resolved to approve the application in June, 2018, subject to conditions and it being temporarily referred to the Secretary of State, but following delays with legal agreements and the Covid-19 pandemic, reports needed to be updated and the application has again come under consideration.

Campaigner Dom Webb, as a prospective claimant, originally wrote to the council, as a prospective defendant, and should his challenge for a judicial review into the lawfulness of the planning application be able to proceed, any claim would be expected to be filed to the Planning Court which is part of the King’s Bench Division and is overseen by a Planning Liaison Judge.

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