How pandemic has made battle for Derbyshire's green space 'more difficult than ever'
Campaigners battling to save green spaces in Derbyshire say the coronavirus pandemic has made fighting developments ‘more difficult than ever’.
A year of lockdowns and restrictions has meant no public meetings or door knocking and councils being able to make more delegated decisions – which campaigners say are less democratic.
Campaign group The Park Avenue Avengers are fighting a determined campaign against plans to build 62 homes on land off Park Avenue at Glapwell.
Members of the group say the pandemic has had a huge impact and made it ‘more difficult than ever’ to campaign against developments.
Spokesperson Sarah Bister said: “The whole process for the last 12 months has been affected by Covid, from delegated decision making down to us not being able to have a decent amount of time to fit any public meetings in between lockdowns.
"Before the pandemic we had over 100 residents attend two public forums at parish meetings.
"This has never been replicated other than an outdoor public meeting before the second lockdown.”
Sarah says generating support for the campaign has been restricted to social media and email – which some residents in the village don’t use.
The group realised quickly that knocking on doors would be ‘out of the question’.
Sarah added: “One thing the pandemic has shown us though, is the need to keep open green spaces for essential exercise and taking breaks when working from home.
"It is needed more that ever now. We should be making the most of our natural spaces for our mental health and well-being.
"Nature is one of the best ways to relax and get back in touch with our inner-self and make us more chilled about life.”
A parcel of land off Park Avenue has been dubbed the ‘last piece in the jigsaw’ for development on the site.
The campaign group recently launched a petition calling on Bolsover District Council (BDC) to stop the sale of this piece of land ‘until covenants can be added to the land to keep it as a green, open public space’ and ‘community asset’.
Businessman Stuart Hill has secured planning permission to build the 62 homes and says the development will bring major benefits to Glapwell – but access to the site is dependent on sale of the strip of land.