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Latest news from Swanwick

21/02/2012 22:42:00 

A meeting organised by Amber Valley Borough Council was held in the Council Chamber

 at Ripley Town Hall last night, Monday 20 February in response to the "SAVE SWANWICK" petition,  presented to the council.  The invitation to the public followed a decision at the Council's last meeting, held in January, to refer the 'Save Swanwick' petition for further consideration. The petition was signed by 1,800 people objecting to two potential locations GA4 & GA5 for housing growth in Swanwick.

Swanwick representatives and Swanwick Parish Councillors with concerns about the possible new housing locations in Swanwick had been invited to voice their concerns at the specially arranged Working Group meeting. The working group chaired by Cllr Stephen Hayes, consists of councillors and officers who meet to discuss Options for Housing Growth in Amber Valley.
The meeting started with a presentation given by planning officer Rob Thorley explaining the Borough Councils stance on the Core Strategy, and what it means, and the process and timetable the Council is working to. It was also a chance to hear about the challenges the Council faces to provide locations throughout Amber Valley for housing. 
Swanwick residents, lead by Mr John Briggs and Swanwick Parish Councillors were then given alloted times to express their concerns on the two Swanwick sites proposed for possible large scale housing. Subjects spoken about included concerns of building on greenbelt and green field sites, infrastructure, schools, flooding and wildlife. 
Various points raised in the speeches given, where then clarified by the working group. The Borough Council stated that the 17 strategic new housing sites proposed all had to be considered equally, and that no site could be dropped at this moment in time due to fear of legal action taken against them from agents, landowners and developers who had made the sites available for development. It was openly expressed by some of the Borough Councillors that they did not want to see any new builds on Greenbelt and Greenfield sites in Amber Valley.
It was quoted that exisitng sites where also being explored for redeveolpment, notably the demolished Butterley Works site which could provide some of the land required for 5000 new homes required across Amber Valley.
It was suggested to the working group that other locations should be considered such as land taken up by closed down public houses and currently vacant residential properties.New developments on Brownfield sites being the priority above any other type of land was also insisted to the Working group.
 An open debate expected by the Swanwick residents was not entered into, and it was stated that a short list of sites for further consultation should be released some time in the middle of the year. A brief questions and answers session concluded the meeting.



• This would not involve development in the Green Belt
• This site is located in close proximity to a junction on the A38
• There are no formal environmental, landscape or heritage 
• The site is not very well related to existing settlements
• The site would be constrained by the A38 and the Butterley 
   Reservoir, which could act as a defensible barrier against 
   any further encroachment into thecountryside
• There are no formal environmental, landscape or historical 
• The site is within the Green Belt
• There is a sewage works adjacent to the southern boundary 
   of the site
• The site is not very well related to the town centres of Ripley 
   and Alfreton
• The site is not near a railway station.

Speeches made on the 18th January 2012, at the AVBC Full Council Meeting


  Mr. Mayor, Councilors, 
  The petition, which is as your Agenda item 13 states Swanwick has undergone 
significant housing development over recent years, the population density is over 
twice the borough average now and we feel the regeneration of BROWNFIELD sites 
should be the priority. 
  The 2,167 residents who have signed the petition outnumber the 2,082 who 
voted in the last local election for all candidates standing in Swanwick in May 2011 
and represents 51% of the population of 4,266. Out of the 2,342 houses in the 
village we have been able to approach 1,331, which represents 556%. Out of the 
1,331, 1,273 signed representing 96% and only 4% declined to sign for whatever 
  As part of the consultation on Options for Housing Growth in Amber Valley 
during July last year, 11 ‘drop in’ events were held, the one in Swanwick was extremely  poorly attended, due to a lack in making people aware. Swanwick Parish Council were  contacted in August and even they had not received a formal approach either.  
  Quoting from your own website on CONSULTATION – ‘Your Chance to make a 
Difference’ – Amber Valley Borough Council is committed to seeking the views of local
 people and to ensuring that strategic priorities reflect the needs and wants of local communities.
Consultation and community engagement are at the heart of Local Government’s role in championing the needs of its communities and democratic renewal. It is important that stakeholders are involved in influencing the policy direction of the Council. 
  A public meeting was therefore arranged by the Parish Council to ‘consult’ the people  of Swanwick, on 25th August, and over 300 attended. The Parish Council, as part of the  consultation process confirmed the views expressed by the residents. In addition, 100’s of  individual letters were written and during late September, 1,800 signatures were gathered in  just over 7 days for this petition. 
  Our local Conservative MP was contacted seeking both his support and also
 reassurance from Central Government and indeed he wrote a personal letter to the
 Chief Executive as a contribution to the consultation. To further consolidate this point I
 would like to quote a question from Prime Minister’s Question Time on 14th September 2011; 
Quote; The Labour Member for Derbyshire North East – “What does the Prime Minister think of local authorities encouraging developers putting in planning applications on Green Belt and Green Field sites in order to use the new homes bonus to balance their budgets?” 
Quote; The Prime Minister – “I think people in Derbyshire should make up their own mind through their local council about what planning should take place and where and that is the agenda this government is going to follow.” 
Following these remarks, a letter was sent to No. 10 Downing Street, seeking confirmation of these statements and the reply will be read to you.
As recently as 8th January once again the Prime Minister appeared in the BBC
program, Countryfile and stated that sprawling housing estate will not be ‘plonked’ on the edge of villages against the wishes of local people under intended planning reforms.
I have read the report by the Chief Executive, agenda item 14(e), Amber Valley Local Development Framework – Update on Core Strategy and Next Steps and also Appendix 1
 – Summary of representations received on ‘Options for Housing Growth’ consultation. Addressing  the latter first, which spans 20 pages in detailing specific issues raised, however, it has one major failing  in that it does NOT give you the critical information you need to properly asses the results of the consultation.
The complete absence of any specific, meaningful numbers for you to compare the gravity of each issue  is replaced by ambiguous, vague generalizations, such as SEVERAL, A FEW, A COUPLE, A NUMBER,  A SMALL NUMBER, and A LARGE NUMBER.
The only figure used in describing responses is ONE, which I have counted as being used 49 times. Whilst individual responses are important, more important are the views expressed by greater numbers, for you to judge the importance of the issues in specific areas and the report does NOT enable you to do this.
A Prime example of this is on page 20, the last page, where particular sites,
the two Swanwick sites, GA4 together with GA5, GH2 and GR4 all begin with the
vague phrase, A LARGE NUMBER of responses, which would indicate that all three
have had exactly the same level of responses and I do NOT believe this to be the case. In fact when the petition, together with a further 93 individual letters were handed over, a borough spokesman was quoted in the press “the response had been HUGE”.
Because Appendix 1 is missing this essential information, it prevents you making a true evaluation of the responses made and the only outcome is for you to reject it due to the omission of essential numerical information.
Dealing with the Core Strategy update and in particular 6.6, the 1,179 responses need to be applied to Appendix 1 for you to derive some meaningful degree of importance on each site. With regard to 6.10, as the two sites GA5 and GA4 are Green Belt and Green Field sites and I am aware of the SHLAA  Practice Guidelines, but they should never have been considered for inclusion in the first instance.
To recommend to continuance of more technical work is both wrong and a disservice to the public who have expressed their views, together with being a further waste of public money following the evidence provided and we shall of course hold the authority to account on this matter if needs be. I once again urge you to reject the Officers recommendation.
The essential characteristics of GREENBELT is their permanence and their protection must be maintained as far as can be seen ahead and should be altered ONLY, I repeat ONLY, in exceptional circumstances.
Land is the most precious resource for the life and continued existence of  mankind, it is the basis on which an entire economic, social and environmental existence is founded.
Mr. Mayor, Councilors, we must not forget that we, the public and you, our elected representatives, have a moral duty to leave a legacy for future generations. That is why I urge you most strongly this evening NOT to refrain or defer from coming to the decision on what this petition calls upon you as our representatives to do.
I would like to talk specifically about the GA5 Derby Road site in Swanwick. 
I have carried out some research with information and maps supplies by Nottingham University, British Coal and the British Geological Survey. These show that this site was opencasted  in the 1940’s, but no records exist as to what backfill material was used.
Apparently it was common practice at this time to use all kinds of waste material when the land was expected to remain pastureland. These records also show 2 known geological faults and 1 suspected fault running across the site and contributing to instability.
Indeed, some years ago a house adjacent to the site collapsed as a direct result of one of these faults. Rebuilding has not been allowed since. Also about 2 years ago a 10meter deep hole opened overnight in the grounds of the school along the same fault line.  
  The second issue is Swanwick sewage works, which is located on this site and the fact that the  prevailing southwesterly wind takes the odor across the majority of this land. Government issued guidelines  contained in a DEFRA document refer to such matters and I would now like to quote directly from this  document. It says;  
  “there is the issue of proposed or actual development close to sewage works (often termed “encroachment”).
 Planning Policy Statement 23 states that local planning authorities need to consider carefully the proximity and location of existing developments, such as sewage treatment works, when drawing up plans to allocate new development.
Such development may be affected by odor from the works and a statutory nuisance created where it did not exist before. Encroachment of odor- ‐sensitive development around sewage treatment can lead to significant problems, with existing sewage treatment works becoming subject to complaints, perhaps for the first time. At the same time, people in their area who may be affected by statutory odor nuisance need protecting by their local authority whose responsibility it is to enforce the abatement of statutory nuisances.
Customers and water companies also need protecting from effectively financing the upgrade of local environment   land sold “cheap” to developers, through charging higher customer water bills to fund the cessation or abatement  of an ensuing statutory nuisance. In some cases, an operator may itself have sold the land for  development and  indirectly introduced new receptors.  
The occupiers of any new development are likely to expect and demand high amenity standards and this could  result in complaints. Differing circumstances between individual works makes a standard distance  ‘cordon sanitaire’ difficult. However, individual buffer zones can offer a practical means of preventing the  exacerbation of existing problems and the occurrence of new ones.
The operational and complaints history of a sewage treatment works and other potential odor issues should be carefully considered by Planning Authorities before permitting new development in the immediate vicinity (assuming a record exists, given that development may not previously have occurred.
Planning Authorities may find themselves in the difficult position of feeling pressurized to release land for development. Planning Authorities should consider resisting development close to works where there is a significant risk of likely statutory nuisance from odor. This Code considers that it would be good practice for Planning Authorities if they do not already do so to consult Environmental Health Authorities and sewerage companies before development around sewage treatment works is permitted.
Indeed, operators of sewage treatment works should be aware of proposed developments and have the opportunity to comment on any land allocations through the consultation process by which Local Development Documents are drawn up. In addition, operators of sewage treatment works can comment on any planning application proposals through the public consultation mechanism.
It would be strongly advisable for any applicant planning development near a sewage treatment works to hold pre- application discussions with the operators and locals planning authority; developers will not want to build 
houses that are unsaleable.” 
As and example, a distance of 400meters between housing and sewage woks has been recommended in Yorkshire and there are instances of other areas where odor problems have arisen. 
Finally, National Grid confirm that they have a major high pressure gas main under the site and Severn Trent show they have several sewers running the length of the site. Building would not be permitted over any of these services. 
For all of these reasons, I would suggest that the Derby Road site is not a viable option for development. 
Good evening, I wish to outline my strong objections to the development of sites GA4 & GA5. 
GA5 falls with the green belt. I quote directly from the government’s Draft Policy; 
“The fundamental aim of green belt is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open: the essential  characteristics of Green Belt are their openness and their permanence.” 
The  document then goes on to explain the reasons why we have green belt land: 
1.  To check the unrestricted sprawl of large built up areas. 
2.  To prevent neighboring towns merging. 
3.  To assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment. 
4.  To preserve the setting and special character of historic towns. 
5.  To assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict land. 
Nigel Mills, MP, in his letter to you states “We should not be using the green belt 
because this is the easier option.” 
I have seen lots of development in Swanwick over the years. For example, a recent press release stated that 38% of Affordable Homes last year in AVBC were built in Swanwick. Swanwick is less than 2% of the area of AVBC. 
However, I have not witnessed the development of the village infrastructure needed to support this growth. For example we have no village hall, no doctor’s surgery, library, supermarket, park or green corridors. The Swanwick area profile describes the shopping facilities as “moderate”. I would suggest this is generous. 
Schooling is no different. 
Primary school capacity - ‐138. Ofstead report - ‐362. 
Secondary school capacity - ‐1257. Ofstead report - ‐1252. 
I also note that the current population density for Swanwick is 10.9 vs. a borough average of 4.5. any new development would significantly increase this figure to the detriment of Swanwick. 
With GA4 and GA5 adding up to a 50% population increase how do you propose to manage the infrastructure implications as they have certainly not been addressed in the past?
In summary the Draft Policy gives a very clear message in the protection of the Green Belt and there I am very surprised that GA5 is even being considered. Furthermore we are already lacking in green areas and you are proposing to massively reduce these.
The 16 strategic sites could give a maximum 25,000 new homes. There are already 3,700 new homes in the current plan.
You are currently proposing Option 3 (Regional Plan Target) for the next 15 years and estimate that a further  5,500 homes are needed. This is only 20% of the maximum. 
Nigel Mills MP has stated “I would regard the lower option (option 1) as the most reasonable at this stage”.
Option 1 (balanced migration) if considered would need only an extra 1,000 new homes. This is 4% of the maximum.
Therefore, to summarize:
GA5 and GA4 directly contravene the aims of the Draft Planning Policy for green belt and green field land.
Within the current 15 year plan, green belt land is not even close to being “last resort”. I believe we are a long, long way from it.
In this legacy year do not be remembered as the council that tarmacked over the greenbelt forever.
I would like to leave the last word to you Community Planning Officer, Rob Thorley who was quoted on Radio Derby on the 30th August; “Green belt is always the last resort for development”.
Presentation to AVBC relating to the impact on the ecology of the green belt land currently proposed as a possible  site for housing development. H Hall
The effect on the wildlife of the area of such development would be catastrophic, not only locally but would have national importance too. I personally have kept records of the birds and other animals which I have seen either in or over not only my garden but also over the aforementioned fields.
This currently stands at over 60 species of bird and over a dozen mammals. The list of these is in the appendix.
Birds are now classified according to whether the species is in dramatic decline (Red list), serious decline (Amber list) or stable and/or increasing (Green list). Currently 14 red listed birds have been recorded in the area most notably Lapwing, Skylark, Tree pipit, Willow Tit, Starling, Linnet and House Sparrow (all birds which essentially rely on farmland for food and breeding).
28 birds have been seen which are on the amber list for example, Stock dove, Barn Owl, Kestrel, Swift, Swallow and House Martin. The last three trawl for insects aerially over these fields, stock dove is a true farmland bird, nationally scarce but daily visitors to our garden, and Barn Owl and Kestrel hunt for voles and mice. Buzzards, Tawny Owls and Little Owls also hunt over the area.
The full list is in the appendix. In winter, the fields and hedgerows attract migrants from Scandinavia like Redwing and Fieldfares. 
Come spring the skies resound to the increasingly scarce song of the skylark. The hedgerows attract migrant warblers like whitethroat, willow warbler (both Amber listed) and Chiffchaff. Meadow pipits perform their parachuting display, which in the past have attracted the attention of cuckoo (globally threatened). These are just what I have seen or heard and so the true extent of the bird life which would be affected will be greater.
I belong to Derbyshire Ornithological Society who keep records of all sightings in Derbyshire and I know for example that the area around Butterley Reservoir has a list of over 150 bird species and lies on a recognised migration route with the proposed fields providing a suitable resting and recovery area for migrants.
The fields are rich feeding grounds for rooks, jackdaws and crows and there has been an established rookery in the trees opposite  our house As regarding other wildlife, the mammals found on the fields that I personally have seen are badger, fox, rabbit, stoat,  weasel, grey squirrel, 3 types of shrew, 3 types of vole, 3 types of mice and perhaps more unwelcome, brown rat (sightings of  which would increase if the land was used for housing!).
The fields also contain a natural spring and together with the run off from the fields, this feeds a stream which runs at the end of the gardens of Derby Road. This in the past has attracted, especially when the reservoir is frozen, kingfisher, snipe, grey heron, moorhen and woodcock. Formerly we used to get water voles but sadly no longer but this is the real nub of the issue.
Shouldn’t we be trying to attract more wild creatures to enhance and bring joy to us all rather than concrete over our remaining wild places?
Appendix 1 Birds seen in or from the garden of 202 Derby Road
Wren, Chaffinch, House Sparrow, Willow Warbler, Blue Tit, Blackbird, Starling, Jackdaw, Swift, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Song Thrush, House Martin, Swallow, Robin, Collared Dove, Hedge Sparrow, Black-headed Gull, Crow, Reed Bunting, Wood Pigeon, Great Tit, Bullfinch, Magpie, Coal Tit, Redwing, Long- tailed Tit, Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, Brambling, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Rook, Linnet, Nuthatch, Pied Wagtail, Blackcap, Jay, Heron, Lapwing, Kestrel, Green Woodpecker, Siskin, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Grey Wagtail. Cormorant, Goldcrest, Lesser Black-backed gull, Mallard, Redstart, Common Tern, Pheasant, Chiffchaff, Lesser Whitethroat, Snipe, Re-legged Partridge, Stock Dove, Buzzard, Moorhen, Cuckoo, Kingfisher, Willow Tit (65)
Appendix 2 Birds seen in the proposed area on the National RED list
Bittern, Grey partridge, Lapwing, Cuckoo, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Skylark, Tree Pipit, Fieldfare, Redwing, Willow Tit, Starling, House Sparrow, Linnet, Twite (14)
Appendix 3 Birds in the area on the National AMBER list

Little Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Wigeon, Gadwall, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Kestrel, Snipe, Woodcock, Stock Dove, Barn Owl, Swift, Kingfisher, Green Woodpecker, Sand Martin, Swallow, House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Mistle Thrush, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Firecrest, Bullfinch, Reed Bunting (28)



The National Planning Policy Framework draft, puts great emphasis on Sustainable Development. It was established by the United Nations, in 1987*, that Sustainable Development is “ Meeting present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs”.

The most sustainable development must be, the Redevelopment and Regeneration of brownfield sites. Where land was previous developed, it can now be reused, 
to satisfy the demands of current and future generations. By cleaning up these Derelict; Discarded and Decaying sites, there is a fantastic opportunity; to build houses for the immediate future, to halt the coalescence of communities, to stop the loss of, the individual identities of these communities, and to keep the green wedges and areas intact.

The latest information from the “Homes and Communities Agency”*, indicates that local authorities have identified, an estimated sixty three thousand seven hundred and fifty hectares* of brownfield land, and more land is available every year.* That is enough for around 3 million homes, and yet over 51% of this land is left derelict and vacant* despite it being prime for redevelopment. Locally this would include the 
Stevenson’s site at Ambergate, and Vyella at Somercotes If this is the case nationally, then why, in the 2008 Amber Valley Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment*,

of the 207 sites identified, only 48 were designated as brownfield sites,- that is less than 25%. If all 207 sites were developed, that would provide a future capacity for 
over Thirty Eight Thousand homes*. Three times the size of Ripley!!! 
Unfortunately less than three thousand of these homes would be on brownfield land LESS than 8%*. Yet as a result of Core Strategy BD3, and reported in the Employment Land Review, there is an over supply of employment land available in Amber Valley.

One option for this land is to reclassify it, making it available for housing development, as part of the boroughs sustainability, and thus to maintain it’s “Core Output Indicator H3” of “building 60% of additional dwellings on previously developed land”* Amber Valley Borough Council should be PROACTIVE in seeking out further appropriate brownfield sites. The Housing and Communities Agency*, is currently working with about 80 local authorities to assist them to produce “local brownfield strategies”. Amber Valley needs to be one of those councils, leading the way.

* Reference points

1987 United Nations Conference 
Homes and Communities Agency (public body) Est. Dec. 2008 
AVBC SHLAA 2008 Sites 
AVBC SHLAA 2008 Appendix 9 table 
AVBC Local Development Framework, Annual Monitoring report Dec. 2010 
AVBC Local Development Framework, Annual Monitoring report Dec. 2011



Since 1970 Swanwick has been totally transformed from the village it was. It has trebled in size with the amount of new private development that has taken place every since that date. Apart from the required infrastructure road works to these developments, there has been no improvement to the overall main highways. With the increased traffic from the developments, the whole village becomes more or less gridlocked during rush hour times – any new development will only add to further chaos. 

From the extra traffic, there have been a number of fatalities which has resulted in the dual carriageways being hatched down to one lane to slow vehicles down. As the proposed development is landlocked with very few access facilities it would  automatically increase the traffic through the lights, the village and dual carriageway. A “feeder” road from an island at the bottom of the carriageway would only lead to even more chaos i.e. Hickton Road being used as a “rat run”. 

In early 1990’s an application for 65 units was submitted by a developer on Derby Road South and was subsequently refused on the grounds of poor infrastructure and congested supporting roads. 

There are alternatives to building on greenbelt/greenfields: 
As Government policy states, there are currently 1,999 empty homes within the Amber Valley area, which could be brought back to accommodate the 700 families on the waiting list.

There are numerous brownfield sites that have already been identified with planning applications and other brownfields sites could include derelict garages, public houses, factories – all of these of which are scattered in Amber Valley and would provide hundreds of new homes and stop the blight of unsightly areas therefore improving the area as a whole. 

The fact that over 1800 people have signed a petition says it all – there should be no more building and the green fields should remain for all to enjoy and keep Swanwick a village.



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