It could be the most important planning application for Erewash that many residents will ever see – and after a five year wait it is finally here.
If site-owners get their plan approved, the 470-acre former Stanton Ironworks will effectively become a new 1,950-home village south of Ilkeston.
Since the site closed in 2008, proposals for up to 4,000 homes were mooted, with that figure halving after public pressure to include employment on the site.
Saint Gobain’s masterplan suggests that more than 2,000 jobs could be created at the site via a 59-acre business park of warehouses and offices and a ‘community plaza’ of shops, restaurants and bars at the heart of ‘New Stanton’.
Les Foulger, at Saint Gobains, said: “We have continually adapted and amended the proposals to reflect the issues and concerns raised and have halved the size of the residential element from the scheme’s initial concept.
“In addition to the residential offer, the employment park offers a wide variety of opportunities for both existing and future businesses.
“The application now submitted for the site represents a truly sustainable and deliverable opportunity to see this vast industrial landscape transformed into a unique and well-designed neighbourhood for future generations to enjoy.”
But the most controversial part of the site is access, with no new routes planned.
Neighbours, in particular campaign group Green Squeeze, have major concerns about the effect those homes and businesses will have on already congested roads in Stanton-by-Dale, Sandiacre and Ilkeston.
After seeing the plans, Paul Harvey from the group said: “For four years we have heard nothing but ‘there’s traffic modelling taking place’ but it doesn’t look like anything has been done.
“They do say quite categorically that they expect traffic to find alternative routes, which means rat runs and back streets.
“The Stanton site needs something doing with it but the problem there has always been is access and this plan does not address the issue – they are hoping it will go away.”
But both Conservative and Labour councillors on Erewash Borough Council, which will decide the fate of the application after a three-month consultation with residents, agree that something needs to be done with what is one of the largest brownfield sites in the country.
Council leader Cllr Chris Corbett said: “I am very pleased we’ve finally got an application – now the hard work starts.
“I think there are still answers needed on the traffic question.
“And contamination, of course – there’s some there but we don’t know how much.”
Labour’s Cllr Howard Griffiths was mostly positive about the plans too but had concerns that the site could ‘lure shoppers away’ from existing town centres.
He urged residents to have their say via the public consultation.
“It’s good that at last we’ve got a definitive scheme to consider,” he said, adding: “It’s about time that somebody had a twinkle in their eye about Stanton – but it is vital that we get it right.
“This could be one of the most controversial planning applications received by Erewash Borough Council in my lifetime.”