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Fitting more homes and businesses into Ashbourne

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: April 15, 2014

Fitting more homes and businesses into Ashbourne

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One of Ashbourne's biggest developments in recent memory was discussed in public for the first time this week. Reporter Gareth Butterfield was there at the meeting.

IF you were to add up all the new homes proposed by landowners and developers in Ashbourne over the past 12 months it would come uncomfortably close to running in to four figures.

During a process that should have resulted in the publication of a document called the Local Plan, steering future housing developments towards the town's preferred sites, the majority of residents voted for builders to head straight for the Airfield, on land surrounding the current industrial estate and bordering parishes such as Bradley and Yeldersley.

In the meantime, the lack of a local plan has prompted a surge of applications on fields around the town but on Monday the development Ashbourne was waiting for all along was given its first proper public airing.

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Should this proposal make it to fruition it will mean up to 367 homes, a new business park of up to eight hectares, shops, a pub, sports areas and a new access to the existing industrial estate.

All this would be accessed off the A52.

The landowners putting the plan forward have promised footpaths, a cycle path and "buffers" to shield the development from the neighbouring industry.

On Monday night members of Ashbourne Town Council's planning committee met to hear from Derby-based Planning Design, which has been tasked with creating the vision for the new development.

Ahead of the presentation by director Jon Millhouse members of the public spoke out about fears they have over aspects of the development and how it might fit in with the surrounding landscape and the town centre itself.

Concerns were raised over traffic volumes that would be exacerbated by the influx of new housing and businesses and also over wildlife which uses the area.

James Handley, who lives close to the site, warned that nature and conservation surveys which would have to be carried out ahead of any building work might miss the presence of certain rare species he has spotted on the site, which was once used as a military airfield.

A representation was also made on behalf of Osmaston and Yeldersley Parish Council by John Naylor.

He explained to town councillors that the Yeldersley parish would bear the brunt of the development as most of it fell within its boundary.

He explained problems already suffered by villagers living alongside factories in the industrial estate including smells and noise.

Town councillors assured the speakers that their concerns would be taken on board while discussing the plans. The plans are due to go before the planning authority, Derbyshire Dales District Council, in the summer.

During discussions, committee members agreed the plans, which are currently at an early outline stage, were not comprehensive enough for them to base a decision on.

Mr Millhouse assured the members that extensive work had been carried out to ensure that the town's infrastructure would be supported to ensure it could accommodate the influx of housing and new businesses.

He spoke of ''significant contributions'' that have already been agreed to provide extra school places and lay on additional public transport routes.

But the committee members felt more work needed to be done to convince them the plan would fit comfortably in the town.

Committee member Lucy Green said: "This is the biggest development that Ashbourne is going to see so we've got to take it very seriously.

"And we've got to understand, even at outline stage, do the benefits of this development and your proposals, do they outweigh the costs to the wider district?

"In its current form I don't think it's a comprehensive enough plan.

"It could be a great opportunity for the town but we need more information to base our decision on if we are going to approve it."

Members voted to object to the application, on the basis they felt more information was required on details including public transport, types of businesses that might be attracted and what its impact might be on the landscape and the town centre.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Millhouse told the News Telegraph: "We will take on board all that the town council have said and we're happy to continue the dialogue with them in the coming weeks.

"We're not expecting any decision to be made by the district council until the summer so there's plenty of time to carry on a dialogue with the town council, which we will look forward to doing," he added.

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