"The countryside is under attack again" say campaigners preparing to fight plans for 185 houses on the outskirts of a Derbyshire town

“The countryside is under attack again” say campaigners preparing to fight plans for 185 houses on the outskirts of a Derbyshire town.
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Housing developer Gladman is putting together a planning application for 185 houses off Chesterfield Road in Alfreton.

The planned site could see homes built close to St Martin’s Church and Alfreton Hall, sandwiched between Chesterfield Road, Church Street and an area of woodland.

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A consultation website for the proposed plans, ahead of a formal planning application being submitted to Amber Valley Borough Council, says the development would provide access to more public open green space, including new tree and hedge planting and footpaths.

Pictured: Several members of the Save Alfreton Countryside.Pictured: Several members of the Save Alfreton Countryside.
Pictured: Several members of the Save Alfreton Countryside.

It also says: “Local businesses such as The King Alfred, King Street Barbers and MADE @ No 18 are likely to benefit from the additional custom that the development will generate.

“Often people are concerned that the proposed development will put pressure on local services.

“As a result, financial contributions will be made where there is a need to increase capacity in these services.

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“If it is deemed there is not sufficient capacity in local schools, a contribution will be paid to Derbyshire County Council to ensure that sufficient school places are made available, for example through the funding of new classrooms.

The proposed 185-home housing site in Chesterfield Road, Alfreton. Image from Gladman.The proposed 185-home housing site in Chesterfield Road, Alfreton. Image from Gladman.
The proposed 185-home housing site in Chesterfield Road, Alfreton. Image from Gladman.

“Our proposals aim to engage with the local community and help shape the growth of Alfreton to make the fullest possible use of public transport, walking and cycling, and focus development in a sustainable location, enhancing the vibrancy and vitality of Alfreton and supporting local services.”

It says the site would include a children’s play area and that access would stem off Chesterfield Road, with planting around the edges aimed at obscuring it from view.

The firm says it would make 30 per cent of the development affordable housing, aimed at allowing more first-time buyers to stay in the area.

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It says: “Our proposals aim to provide places for people to live that are considerate to the environment and will promote the wellbeing of existing and future residents in Alfreton.

“The land we are proposing to develop is currently agricultural land and is therefore home to very few species of plants or animals.

“With the creation of new homes and gardens and the introduction of new trees and hedgerows, the living environment will be enhanced for the benefit of residents and wildlife alike.”

It also says: “There are often concerns associated with the impact of increased traffic as a result of a proposed development.

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“Our specialist highways consultants work with your local highways authority, Derbyshire County Council, to ensure that the development can be accommodated, taking into account any required improvements to increase capacity at key junctions in the road network.”

Jamie Selby, speaking on behalf of the campaign group Save Alfreton Countryside, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “We are aghast at the latest potential intrusion into the much valued open space between Alfreton, Oakerthorpe and Shirland.

“The 185 homes sit just outside of what would have been the boundary for the Alfreton solar farm that was refused by His Majesty’s Planning Inspector in December 22.

“We feel that many of the reasons the solar farm was refused apply equally in this case.

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“For that reason, should this application be brought forward, we hope that the planning authority who defended their decision to refuse the solar farm apply the same level of scrutiny to this application.

“The people of Alfreton, Oakerthorpe and Shirland value dearly the space between the settlements, as was evidenced by the record number of objections against the solar farm and proposed residential developments in Oakerthorpe.

“It feels as though this area is under constant attack and we should not forget the cumulative effect of these developments.

“There are currently applications being considered for 43 houses on the land opposite the Peacock, a Grade-II listed building, alongside a proposal for a 240-unit ‘retirement village’ on the land adjacent to Alfreton Golf Club.

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“These sit alongside the 39 houses currently under construction opposite Alfreton Park. There are already a total of 322 houses being built or considered within the planning process within half a mile.

“Our countryside, the land we hold so dear, is under attack yet again by developers who have no regard for the local communities who love where they live.

“Our community came together to fight off the solar farm and if this application makes its way into the planning process I am sure that it will come together again.”

In December last year, Government Planning Inspector Paul Jackson, following an extensive public inquiry, rejected plans from Kronos Solar for a 185-acre solar farm between Alfreton and Oakerthorpe.

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Mr Jackson said the scheme “would extend the area of industrial development into an area close to the town that is currently open countryside” and “the fields that characterise the countryside on high ground immediately west of Alfreton would be largely subsumed”.

He wrote that the proposed scheme would also impact the setting of several historic buildings and assets, including St Martins Church, Alfreton Hall, Wingfield Manor and Alfreton Park – the settings of which would be “significantly diminished” and “seriously compromised”.