Heated debate over 500 homes proposal

ANGRY residents packed out an Ilkeston pub on Monday to voice their fears about proposals to build 500 homes off Quarry Hill Road.

An action group, formed in response to the proposal to earmark land bordering Ilkeston, Kirk Hallam and the former Stanton Ironworks for development, urged the 80-strong crowd at the Bull’s Head to oppose the plan.

Lou Hall, of Quarry Hill Road, said: “We must fight this. It is certainly not in our favour and not in our children’s favour”

The Government has asked every council in the country to identify areas of land which could be built on to cope with higher demand nationally for housing.

Erewash Borough Council has said it needs to build more than 6,000 houses in the borough before 2026, roughly 2,000 of which were planned to be built on the former ironworks.

But, because no plans have yet been submitted for Stanton, officers have now identified two areas in Ilkeston where houses could be built instead – off Quarry Hill Road and off Manners Industrial Estate.

Labour councillors, also present at the meeting, advised residents to ‘flood’ the Tory-run authority with letters and fill the public gallery at Ilkeston Town Hall when the plans will be discussed there in December.

Cllr Alex Philips said: “We seem to think it’s a done deal, it isn’t.

“You have got to be as awkward as possible.

“You pay our salaries, you have got to scream bloody murder to prevent these houses being built down there.”

Residents were particularly concerned about the traffic problems a possible extra 1,000 cars would cause – with roads apparently already at capacity.

They argued the development would also put too much pressure on schools.

Mum-of-two Sam Renshaw, of Middleton Road, said: “Are they going to build a school down there like they promised in Shipley View? Because it never got built.

“As a mum my kids’ education is a priority. We have got good schools at the moment and we should keep it that way.”

There were also concerns that the development would create a ‘conurbation’.

“That area acts as a barrier between Ilkeston and Kirk Hallam,” said Mr Hall.

“That barrier needs to remain. We need a little bit of green between one area and another.”

Cllr Frank Phillips explained that if the council does not identify to the Government where it could potentially build, developers will have their pick of the whole borough – including protected greenbelt.

“If [Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government] Eric Pickles hasn’t put his stamp on it by December,” he said, “that will give carte blanche to the developers.”

But other residents raised concerns about loss of wildlife.

One of the six landowners of the proposed site, said: “We have got everything here except white deer.”

Another resident, Mick Golds, from Erewash Canal Preservation and Development Association, also said he was concerned that they could miss a ‘golden opportunity’ to restore the Nutbrook Canal which runs through the area.

Anne Green, of Quarry Hill Road, is one of the founders of the residents’ action group.

She asked for help from residents with the campaign and since then, the group has set up a website at www.quarryhillactiongroup.org.

Dozens of signatures have already been gathered for a petition against the proposal. To find out more email quaryhillaction@gmail.com to join the mailing list.

The group was due to hold a meeting last night (Wednesday) to discuss their next steps.

Residents have until Monday October 31 to have their say on the development via the council’s website www.erewash.gov.uk.

Views should be emailed to ldf@erewash.gov.uk.

Residents were also told to submit public questions to the authority before its meeting on December 8.