Plans to build new homes close to historic Derbyshire waste dumps at centre of heath hazard fears

The proposals would see the houses built off Park Side in Somercotes, Derbyshire.
The proposals would see the houses built off Park Side in Somercotes, Derbyshire.

Plans have been submitted for another 18 homes in the vicinity of two historic waste dumps which councillors fear could be a health hazard.

The proposals, submitted by Mr and Mrs Liffen and Daniels-Knight, would see the houses built off Park Side in Somercotes.

Amber Valley Borough Council will make a decision on the application in the next few months.

The homes, if approved, would be built on a series of green fields directly adjoining a larger site which had been the subject of plans for 99 houses – which were rejected in September.

During the debate on the 99-home plans, submitted by Paul Newman New Homes, Cloun John McCabe said that an historic toxic tip in the vicinity of the site could put 'people’s lives at risk'.

Meanwhile, Coun Brian Lyttle had said that it was 'absolutely unacceptable' to build any housing near the tip, due to the threat he feels the historic site poses.

The 18-home plans now submitted for Park Side join a raft of housing schemes which have been proposed around the former tips.

The dubious and complex history of the sites, which operated during the 70s, was unfurled in an extensive Local Democracy Reporting Service investigation published last week.

A report submitted with the 18-home plans, says: “The site is ideally positioned for a residential development, not only extending on the existing housing stock in the area but also increasing the proposed new housing.

“The proposal will generate a new place that aims to meet the needs of the new community and its future generations.

“The proposals seek to deliver a sustainable development and a high quality of life that improves economic, social and environmental well being.

“Due to the other regeneration proposed in the immediate area, this site can be part of an exciting invigoration of the village of Somercotes which will create a new and attractive vicinity and sought-after residential area.

“The development will make a positive addition to the area of Somercotes and a vital contribution to the local housing needs.”

The application says that 20 per cent of the homes (3.6) would be affordable housing.

All of the proposed homes would be two storeys tall, with a mix of two, three and four beds.

Each house would have a private driveway and “generous” private gardens.

READ MORE: Special investigation: Councillor fears toxic tip ‘putting lives at risk’ in Derbyshire village
Regarding the 99-home plans, the developer submitted a report from consultants BSP which found evidence of several abandoned mine entries which would need to be filled and capped.

BSP had also recommended that houses are not built over or in the vicinity of the abandoned mine entries.

It also said that soil on the site could contain a high concentration of metals and asbestos that would not be suitable for proposed gardens and landscaping around the development.

The firm also identified contamination from off-site sources , including migration of materials from landfills.

The historic tips referred to are known as LS41, now the home of Amber Valley Rugby Club, and LS01, a man-made hill off Norman Road – both in Somercotes.

READ MORE: Special investigation: Were horse cancer deaths down to grazing on Derbyshire toxic tip?
They were both licensed for the dumping of thousands of tonnes of waste in the 70s, although historic county council reports say that dumping took place at LS01 before and after the license.

Locals also say that vast quantities of hazardous materials were dumped at night-time. An unofficial tip list of these substances shows that some were at least partially radioactive and carcinogenic.

Campaigners and some local residents fear that dangerous substances have leaked from the former tips, after 40 years of intermingling.

Having hired their own experts, they say contamination has been found some 300 metres from the area.

In June, ground investigation experts hired by a developer behind another site close to the tips, advised that contractors should not touch or breathe in the soil on the site due to the contamination.