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Planners listened and voted for the airfield site

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: December 05, 2012

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MEMBERS of Ashbourne’s planning committee have voted unanimously in favour of future housing development being steered towards the derelict Ashbourne airfield site.

Around 20 speakers took advantage of an invitation by Derbyshire Dales District Council to stand up and put their views to planners ahead of their public decision, which was made on Wednesday at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Ashbourne.

Points put across by the speakers reflected the public mood during the consultation into the formulation of the district council’s draft local plan, which saw more than 90 per cent of respondents picking the airfield as their favourite option for future development.

Among the speakers appealing to committee members at the meeting was Peter Fox, speaking on behalf of Ashbourne Aware and the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

During his allocated three minutes of speaking time, Mr Fox stressed that the members overturn a recommendation by planning director Paul Wilson not to give the airfield site top priority when finding room to accommodate 400 houses as part of the district council’s future housing obligations.

He told members: “You are being asked tonight to endorse a recommendation that could see the destruction of acre upon acre of green fields around our precious town, and you don’t need to. Instead you could launch a flagship redevelopment project.

“We need you to show leadership tonight. Please, search your conscience and deliver your duty to the people you represent.” He also argued Mr Wilson’s point that developer access to the site could not be made in the required five years by pointing out that an entire bomber base had been built on the land in just nine months.

He added: “District councils all over the country, and even today the planning minister himself, are facing fierce protests at the potential destruction of green land.

“They would give their eye teeth for the brownfield opportunity that you have. You can create a truly sustainable community, in line with the NPPF, with access to work, facilities, transport and green spaces, with room for buffer zones and expanding Industry.

All on a brownfield site.” Also among the speakers pushing for a higher priority to be given to the airfield site, over recommended favourite green field plots off Old Derby Road and Wyaston Road, was 16-year-old QEGS pupil Eleanor Wright, who pointed out that members were deciding on her future and the future of her generation’s children.

During discussion among members Derbyshire County Council leader Andrew Lewer proposed that it be moved from its recommended Priority Two, to priority one in the forthcoming draft local plan. A motion that was unanimously voted in.

Quicker decisions followed to vote against Mr Wilson’s recommendation that the site adjacent to Old Derby Road and land at Leys Farm, of Wyaston Road be first priorities and members agreed they would be ranked third in the order.

A site at Hillside Farm in Wyaston Road that could accommodate 161 houses was moved from Mr Wilson’s suggested Priority Three status to Priority Two, despite concerns over only part of the site being suitable.

And a patch of land north of Cavendish Drive and east of Derby Road, which was not part of the initial stage of consultation but will be included in future engagement, was moved from its recommended Priority Two status to Priority Four, the lowest available.

Priority One sites must be developable within five years and members must be satisfied that ‘key development criteria’ including highway impact, flood risk and infrastructure considerations are suitable.

At the other end of the scale, Priority Four sites are considered to be undesirable in all aspects of their potential for development.

The preferred development site on the airfield will now be given favour as the district council moves towards the next stages of formulating a draft local plan, which is due to be discussed again in the new year.

The local plan is a strategy that local authorities are being encouraged to adopt as they assess potential ways of meeting Government housing targets that require them to find sites for development between 2006 and 2028.

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8 comments

  • Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  January 19 2013, 9:15AM

    Have we been totally misled? The land the planners and council are recommending will accommodate over 1500 houses! I have now seen plans showing what the land-owners are considering and I can safely say that what they are planning is a ‘monster’! To put it into context: • Land planned for residential development is large enough to accommodate around 1000 houses and about 2500 people. This is at least twice the size of Brailsford! • Land planned for retail and community facilities is up to 3 times the size of Waterside Retail Park! • Land planned for industrial development will almost double the size of the existing Airfield Industrial Estate! • A major new road junction is planned opposite Osmaston which will be used by all the proposed housing, retail and industrial traffic! It is alarming that development on this scale is even being contemplated without proper consultation. Yet the Planners seem to be supporting it even though they say they only need 367 houses. Have they seen the land-owners’ proposals for 1000 houses? If so, how can they support it? If the development proceeds as the plans show it will completely change the character of Ashbourne; it will have a massively negative impact upon the already beleaguered town centre shops; and I fear that the resultant traffic congestion and inevitable increase in complaints about noise and smells might even result in some of our major employers on the industrial estate leaving the town. Indeed, I wonder who will want to live in houses cheek-by-jowl with industry in any event!

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  • Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  January 10 2013, 2:27PM

    We consider that the choice of site is inappropriate owing to the industrial nature of the land use. The Airfield Industrial Estate is the hub of Ashbourne’s economic growth and employment. This potential site would restrict Ashbourne’s economy, development and employment owing to restrictions on operation times and changes to Environmental Permits. This has the potential to limit production and service output. Further to this on a general scale, once these houses have been built there will be a greater demand for jobs in the local area, yet more restrictions on Ashbourne’s principle industrial area and thus economic development and potential sites for industry to develop. It seems more logical to expand an industrial area as an industrial area and a residential area as a residential area, as the current proposals will prevent future development. Unemployment rates are high enough within this area without an increased population in conjunction with restrictions to the towns Industry. This development area if prioritized would also contradict with Local and National Planning Policy regarding waste and driving objectives owing to the reduction in operation time enforced by this change of land use.

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  • Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  January 03 2013, 11:36PM

    Anyone who bothers to take a wlak across the airfield site and then walk along Bonnie Price Charlie Way across ASH2 can immediately see that the airfield is the brownfield site. It's obvious. The only way you could keep Ashbourne's green heart would be to take all the industry, all the concrete and old buildings away and re-claim the entire site as a green field. Then there may be an argument for looking at the other greenfield sites as alternatives. But of course that would never happen and be a pointless expense. So the choice is obvious. I am amazed that people are prepared to see the destruction of prime green fields in preference to redeveloping a cracked and weed ridden pile of runways and hardstanding. They are certainly in the minority, no matter how many capital letters they use in their postings....

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  • Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  January 02 2013, 3:49PM

    This is truly a disgrace to the whole community that the council intends to build houses on this stunning example of rural England.... The council needs to invest in breaking away the crust of concrete and reveal the fertile land for the farmers and wildlife... Please could someone drop me mr Harrison's contact details because I'm very interested in the pest control on the land: Edward.j.thornhill@live.co.uk

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  • Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  December 07 2012, 10:38AM

    THE AIRFIELD DOES NOT NEED REDEVELOPING IT IS ALREADY PRODUCING FANTASTIC CROPS, THE OWNER IS BREAKING UP CONCRETE TO GROW MORE SO WHY TAKE ACRE UPON ACRE OF HIGH YIELDING CEREAL CROPS WHEN THERE IS OTHER LAND AVAILABLE, JUST BECAUSE ITS PLOUGHED DOES NOT MAKE IT A BROWN FIELD SITE, OR SHOULD OTHER LAND OWNERS PLOUGH THEIR FILEDS TO ALSO BECOME BROWN FIELD SITES

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  • Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  December 07 2012, 10:31AM

    I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHY EVERYBODY CONTINUES TO KEEP SAYING THAT ASH 1 THE AIRFIELD SITE, IS A BROWN FIELD SITE WHEN IT IS ACTUALLY A VERY GREEN FIELD SITE, ONE OF THE CURRENT OWNERS MR HARRISON HAS BEEN BREAKING UP CONCRETE TO GROW CORN, FOR GOODNESS SAKE ARE PEOPLE SO GULLIBLE SO BE TAKEN IN WITH THIS BRAIN WASHING EXERCISE, ALL IT IS RESIDENTS OF THE SHIRES ESTATE THAT DO NOT WANT THE BUILDING RESTRICTING THEIR VIEWS!!

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  • Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  December 05 2012, 6:30PM

    Who decided we "needed" 400 new homes in Ashbourne? We've not got the infrastructure to support 400 homes worth of new residents within the town. Where are the children going to go to school? What about GP surgeries, have they got the capacity for all the extra patients?

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  • Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  December 05 2012, 2:04PM

    Building on airfield is absolutuely ridiculous, why should new home owners be put up there out the way, how long will it be before council starts to recieve complaints about horrid smells from moi park and vital earth, it is a shame that The Shires has so many selfish residents (WHICH I AM PROUD TO SAY I AM NOT ONE OF) that don't want there view ruining, have they stopped to think their houses once stood on green fields, the land off Wyaston Road has always been outlined for building ever since they built the bypass. It seems to me that Ashbourne townsfolk have been brain washed into thinking that the airfield is a brown field site when it is actually GREEN FIELD itself, one of the owners has been breaking up the concrete to grow very valuable crops, this land is more productive as far as producing crops than the land off Wyaston Road which has only ever been used for grazing.

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