This week’s news round-up reports on new plans to transform the former magistrates’ court in Chesterfield, Government action over development plans for Bolsover and North East Derbyshire, a consultation about a new roundabout on the A61 and more. (Editor’s note: Sadly, this is the last news round-up that I’ll be publishing for the foreseeable future. I’m stopping writing the blog due to other commitments, but it may return at some point. Many thanks to all those who’ve read and supported the blog.)
The derelict former magistrates’ court in Chesterfield could be turned into apartments, it has been revealed.
Plans have been submitted to Chesterfield Borough Council to transform the building, called Knightsbridge Court, into 32 apartments.
The proposals would see a change of use from offices to residential at the listed building on West Bars, along with internal alterations to create the apartments.
Earlier this year, it emerged that the building, pictured above, was being used as a drugs den and the council intervened to ask the owner to take urgent action.
The new plans have been submitted by Den Architecture Ltd and would see 14 one-bedroom flats and 18 two-bedroom flats built over three storeys.
One of the planning documents said the building had suffered sustained vandalism, arson attempts and extensive damage over the last year.
It said: “If a use is not found immediately, the property is vulnerable to the elements and stands at a risk of rapid deterioration beyond the point of no return.
“An extensive marketing and media campaign was launched to sell the property at a significant discount, initial enquiries dwindled without any success and currently there is only one residential developer who has made a conditional exchange offer subject to receiving this planning permission.”
The building has stood empty for around seven years and previously received planning permission for office, retail and leisure use.
Government housing intervention
Bolsover and North East Derbyshire district councils have been named among 15 local authorities in England where the Government is considering action over housing plans.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid announced today that the authorities were among those which had failed to produce Local Plans – which set out where new developments should be built.
The 15 councils have now been served notice that the Government has begun the formal process of intervention, which will give them until the end of January to explain why they have not yet published Local Plans.
Mr Javid said: “Whilst some councils are recognising their responsibilities and stepping up to meet the housing challenge, too many are still not acting. That’s why I’m stepping in now to make sure they act.”
A spokesman for Bolsover and North East Derbyshire councils said: “We are aware of the comments from the Secretary of State and we have been and continue to be in dialogue with them over the delivery of our Local Plan.”
He added that a timetable for the Bolsover Local Plan had now been agreed, which would see the new document adopted by November next year, subject to Planning Inspectorate timetabling.
New A61 roundabout
Local people can have their say about plans for a new roundabout on the A61 in Wingerworth, as part of a major housing and employment development.
Derbyshire County Council is holding three drop-in sessions about the proposed roundabout and a new road to serve The Avenue development – where two planning applications by Taylor Wimpey were approved last month.
The new roundabout would be built at the junction of Nottingham Drive and the A61, while the Mill Lane junction with the A61 would be closed off.
A detailed planning application for the roundabout is expected to be submitted next year and residents are being urged to attend one of three drop-in sessions this month.
Other politics news from Derbyshire this week includes:
- Chesterfield’s Winding Wheel venue will have £426,000 spent on it to improve facilities for customers – after the project was approved on Tuesday. Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet backed the scheme, which will see a new entrance area created with a café bar and new toilets.
- North East Derbyshire MP Lee Rowley has secured a 30-minute debate in Parliament next Wednesday about the potential effect of fracking in the constituency. The Westminster Hall debate will discuss the plans by Ineos for exploratory drilling at Bramleymoor Lane, which Mr Rowley opposes.
- New plans to build 12 homes at The Shrubberies in Chesterfield could be approved by Chesterfield Borough Council’s planning committee on Monday. In January, the committee refused proposals for 13 dwellings at the Newbold Road site because of concerns about the loss of The Shrubberies building and loss of protected trees – but the demolition of the 19th Century building was later approved.
- A by-election will take place on 7th December to elect two councillors for Tupton Parish Council. Those standing for election are June Hancock (Lib Dem), David Anthony Parmley (Lab), Ifte Shaikh (Lab) and Keith Windley (Lib Dem).
- Derbyshire County Council has strengthened its links with China with a formal agreement designed to boost tourism, business, culture and education. Council leader Coun Barry Lewis signed the agreement with Li Guoying, governor of East China’s Anhui province, during a trip to China earlier this month.
- Chesterfield residents can get in the Christmas spirit on Sunday when the annual lights switch-on event takes place. A special market will take place from noon offering entertainment, stalls and rides, before the lights are switched on at 4.45pm.