Scores of jobs could be created under a major plan to build hundreds of homes near a Derbyshire quarry site

Middle Peak Quarry where the 150 new homes could be built
Middle Peak Quarry where the 150 new homes could be built

Plans for 151 homes and a raft of space for new businesses have been put forward for land next to a Wirksworth quarry – and the scheme could create 142 jobs.

The proposals are for a site off Middleton Road and Cromford Road, lying yards away from the disused Middle Peak Quarry. They have been submitted by the construction firm Tarmac.

Middle Peak Quarry

Middle Peak Quarry

Tarmac also has major plans for the 140-acre quarry itself which would see a further 645 homes built on the site – bringing the total to 796 homes – with affordable housing; employment, office and community space; a corner shop; and a primary school.

The much larger scheme would be submitted once the Local Plan for future development is fully ratified and after community consultation sessions are held – forecast for early 2019.

It has been dubbed the “largest and most significant development in Wirksworth” in the area’s neighbourhood plan.

The initial 151 homes and extensive employment space to the east of the quarry have been submitted to Derbyshire Dales District Council and would pave the way for jobs in research and development; and light and general manufacturing.

Extensive restoration would be required for the site – just west of the Ravenstor Road industrial estate – which is both brownfield and greenfield, and this would be so costly that the developer says that affordable housing would not be financially viable in this stage.

The costs of remediation shot up with the discovery of 17 former mine shafts which would need to be filled and capped – this alone would take six months.

Large chunks of woodland on the site would be retained and bat boxes would be installed in these areas to help replace roosts which would be lost through development.

On top of this, the current district council car park in Old Lane could be extended and the historic Rock House would be retained after mass objections to its demolition in the initial draft phases of the plans.

A pedestrian crossing would be installed on Cromford Road; the pavements would also be widened near to Rock House; traffic calming measures would be placed in Middleton Road; and the bus stops and shelters would be upgraded and relocated on Cromford Road.

Most of the houses would be two or two-and-a-half storeys, but those around Rock House would be just one-storey tall.

The site would also have a children’s play park in the centre of the development, cycle paths and “ecology park” which would contain the site’s flood prevention pond.

There would be around 200 car parking spaces on the site, with the choice for residents to park on their drives or in garages.

A statement from Tarmac, submitted with the application, states: “The site provides the opportunity to promote well designed sustainable development in an accessible location.

“The site that it is suitable for development for residential, employment and open space purposes.

“The local area has transport links including public transport services which connect the site to nearby towns and cities, including Derby and Chesterfield. There are local residential areas and wider employment sources nearby.

“Careful assessment of the physical context has revealed the opportunity for the site to accommodate development and to retain key features such as important trees and hedgerows and Rock House.”

If approved, Tarmac hopes to begin construction in Spring 2020.

The application will be debated by the district council later this year.

This application comes just a month after plans for nearly 500 homes were approved at another former quarry in the Derbyshire Dales.

On June 28, district councillors signed off on the plans for Cawdor Quarry, three and a half miles away as the crow flies, in Matlock.

The scheme faced similar pressures from remediation, and after two decades of work with residents and the council, the developer, Groveholt Ltd, dropped all affordable housing proposals.

Eddie Bisknell , Local Democracy Reporting Service