The site of Stanton Ironworks has had an influence on Ilkeston for the last 250 years and it seems as though plans for its regeneration have been going on for at least that long.
The site has lain dormant since 2007 and matters seemed to be moving in the right direction a couple of years back when owners Saint-Gobain put forward a plan for a 2,000-home new village at the 470-acre site.
But this was finally withdrawn by the French firm following almost 200 letters of objection and advice from Erewash Borough Council planning officers that it was likely to fail on a number of points.
Officers put forward 11 reasons for refusing the application, including failure to outline how traffic increases would be dealt with, failure to provide an amount and mix of employment development and failure to deliver green infrastructure including an appropriate wildlife corridor.
But now, in an attempt to pre-empt any more unsuitable applications, Erewash Borough Council has put forward a supplementary planning document (SPD) which sets out the kind of development its planning department would like to see at the site.
The SPD includes:
- Around 2,000 homes
- A 10-hectare business park
- At least 10-hectares of land for general industry
- A neighbourhood centre
- At least 20-hectares of wild space and recreation area
Councillor Chris Corbett, leader of Erewash Borough Council, said: “Stanton is the most important development site in Erewash and this masterplan is aimed at addressing all the issues that surround it and to clearly set out the expectations we have to provide a quality redevelopment for residents of this borough.
“We have worked hard to produce a plan that will remove any uncertainty for developers and will be a guide to help them put together future planning applications that are likely to be successful.”
Ian Sankey, director for resources at Erewash Borough Council, said the Stanton site was crucial for the council and for residents and would provide housing and employment.
He added: “The most important thing is to try and attract developers - and give certainty to them of what the council is looking for.
“If a developer brings forward an application in-line with the SPD it is likely the developer would secure permission.”
During a meeting of Erewash Borough Council’s Executive to discuss the SPD councillors agreed it was vital that the borough put forward brownfield sites such as Stanton for housing in order to avoid the loss of its greenbelt while attempting to meet Government targets for housing stock in Erewash during the next 25 years.
Coun Corbett said: “This affects the whole borough because if brownfield sites are not built on we will find it increasingly hard to deny applications for greenfield sites.”
Councillor Carol Hart, member for West Hallam and Dale Abbey, said the council had to abide by its core strategy for development in the borough.
She added: “We need to have something in place. If we do not provide housing we will be endangering our green belt.
“This has to happen because if it does not it will impact the whole of Erewash.”
One of the reasons that planning officers gave for the last planning application’s likely failure was that Saint-Gobain had not shown how it would address the traffic increase which the development would create.
In its SPD Erewash Borough Council has included a number of off-site junction improvements to maintain the flow of traffic in the general area.
They include two new roundabouts, road widening in Trowell and full signalisation of the double mini-roundabout in Stapleford.
During the document’s formulation the council had considered the building of various relief roads.
But the SPD states: “None have been taken forward.
“In particular, many interventions only relieve one area by increasing problems elsewhere.”
Instead the SPD suggests that any potential developer should create a substantial fund to address the impact that increased traffic levels would have on the surrounding neighbourhoods.
Coun Corbett told the Tiser: “Managing traffic outside the site is a big and expensive job.
“We are talking with the county council and highways but this is not something you can do quickly.
“It is not the job of the borough to build roads but perhaps the answer is to build another road.
“The traffic issue could be a big problem for Stanton but maybe not for a developer.”
Councillors unanimously agreed to approve the SPD at the council’s executive committee meeting.
The draft document will now be subject of a six-week public consultation before a final version is drawn up, informed by feedback from the public.
It will then go before full council for consideration on 15th December.
Coun Corbett said: “This gives developers some degree of certainty.
“I would like to see 2,000 houses, a business park and a community centre.
“But we also need to look at improving traffic flow at the site, so we will be asking landowners, residents and parish councillors to comment and come up with their ideas.”
Details of the start of the consultation will be announced by the council shortly. To view the draft SPD visit http://moderngov.erewash.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=104&MId=1540&Ver=4