I have been pouring over the outline plans for the site of the former Stanton Ironworks. One question has continually reappeared in my mind…are these plans viable?
The very pretty pictures provided by Saint Gobain have failed to deal with some very obvious questions.
Contamination: while the site is not as contaminated as first feared, there is a considerable cost to clearing up the site, approximately £30 million I believe. A massive sum for a potential developer, especially as there are several Greenfield sites earmarked for development on the edge of Derby that have yet to be built upon.
Surely these would be the first pick for any developer interested in the area.
Transportation: this is the white elephant in the room. The plan outlined by Saint Gobain does not deal with this fundamental issue in my opinion — instead it favours piling 2,000-plus cars onto the already congested roads of Hallam Fields, Sandiacre and Stanton-by–Dale.
This site surely cannot be developed without proper plans for the transport infrastructure.
Industry and jobs: the outline plan for the site proposed by Saint Gobain only gives 20 hectares over to industry and jobs, with ten hectares of that designated for office space. In my opinion this is far too small a space to be given over to industry and job creation. Stanton Ironworks was a major local employer in the 20th century and the land that remains should be a major site for employment in the 21st century.
We have major problems with youth unemployment and unemployment in the Erewash generally.
This is our opportunity to ensure that local people have local jobs, and this is a sentiment shared by many of the people we have spoken to over the last few weeks. Job creation on the site must be the first priority.
In my mind the current plans simply are not viable. If this is the case then Erewash Borough Council must ensure that the people of the borough get the most out of the Stanton Ironworks site, not yet more characterless boxes and even fewer jobs.
Cllr Alex Phillips,
Leader of Erewash