Plan for 119 new homes on Little Hallam beauty spot sparks backlash

Concerned residents have erected handmade signs to highlight a planning application for 119 new homes on the Oakwell Brickworks beauty spot in Little Hallam.
Concerned residents have erected handmade signs to highlight a planning application for 119 new homes on the Oakwell Brickworks beauty spot in Little Hallam.

Homemade signs have sprung up around Little Hallam to highlight residents’ fears over plans to build hundreds of new homes on a greenfield space.

Two planning applications have been submitted to Erewash Borough Council for up to 116 homes on the former Oakwell Brickworks between Derby Road, Kirk Hallam Academy, and Spinney Road.

The 4.6 hectare site, owned by Tata Steel, is currently occupied by a field and mature woodland, which are valued as a public amenity by the local community and lie partly inside a designated Beauty Spot Local Wildlife Site.

The signs which have recently appeared around the perimeter fence call attention to the presence of badgers, foxes, owls, and birds, especially in light of recent major developments nearby.

Resident Neal Jones, who spotted the signs while out walking, said: “We have the big 350-house site being built just down from us at Elka’s Rise, and we think that is enough house building around us and the impact it is having.

“The destruction of the environment and wildlife, pollution and traffic madness will make it even worse.”

According to wildlife surveys, no badgers have been recorded on the land in question, but action may be required to protect a population of great crested newts, bats, and common toads.

The planning documents submitted last month suggest that pre-application public consultation was carried out in September 2018 — but the news has still come as a surprise to some residents.

Neal said: “Without these signs we would have been unaware of this development, even though we literally live yards away on Quarry Hill.

“We think this is disgusting sliding it in through the back door with no information given, leaflet drops or signage.”

The Oakwell Brickworks site has long been a point of contention for prospective developers, due to the likelihood of buried toxic waste leftover from its industrial days.

However, according to the council’s 2012 Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment—which allowed for up to 360 homes across the whole site—the two applications concern areas thought to pose the least risk.

The plans call for a new access road to the housing, joining Derby Road near the Applegreen service station, which would then curve south-west around the Grade II-listed brick kiln.

The kiln is in a serious state of disrepair, and it is possible that any planning consent may require a developer to fund works which would protect the kiln.

For more information, search for applications ERE/ 0319/0069 and ERE/0319/0070 at erewash.gov.uk.