ANGRY residents have launched a campaign to save a beloved green space from being turned into flats.
Former builder Derek Scholes said that he and dozens of residents living near the Bridge Inn in Awsworth Road, Ilkeston, have been ‘appalled’ by Erewash Borough Council’s plan to sell off the land at the rear of the pub as part of a planned development of the vacant pub.
During a heated exchange with council officers at an Ilkeston community forum meeting last Thursday, Derek, who is gathering signatures on a petition, said: “We, the residents, are appalled at the total lack of respect for our green space.”
Developers plan to convert the pub into six flats and build an 11-flat complex on the green land.
“What happens to the inn is of no concern of ours,” he added.
“But the green space proposal is our concern – why is this area even being considered to sell?”
Manager at former Ilkeston building firm Burrows, Derek built the house where he now lives in Springfield Gardens, backing on to the space, in 1980.
He said that as a condition Erewash Borough Council had told the firm to provide the green space near the Erewash Canal as ‘a gift’ to Ilkeston.
“Thirty years it has been our land and it has been well used,” he added.
He said that there is a footpath passing through the land that has been in ‘common use’ for at least 75 years,
Father-of-five Peter Gregory said after the meeting: “We have camped on there, had football matches on there, barbecues – all sorts. It’s our space and people come from far away to use it.”
The council is sending out a two-page questionnaire to nearly 270 households about the possibility of the land being sold for residential development.
Notices are to be put up at entrances to the land giving details of an online questionnaire.
Cllr Geoff Smith, lead member for planning, said: “The council is looking at options for the future of this site. We have not made any decision on the future and want to give local people the opportunity to have their say. All responses will be evaluated and taken into consideration when the Council makes any decisions.”
Responses must be received by Monday February 21.