500 homes to be built onbrickworks

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WHILE campaigners celebrate a victory in getting Manner Floods removed from the council’s 15-year housing plan this week, residents in another part of Ilkeston are now faced with having hundreds of homes built on their doorstep.

Despite leader of the council Cllr Chris Corbett’s claim in December that the land beneath the former Oakwell Brickworks was too contaminated to build on, the new plan states that more than 500 houses can be built there, leaving some residents concerned for the future.

One resident in nearby Manor Fields Drive said the threat of 700 houses on Manner Floods had been ‘scary’ but a huge development just across the road would be worse.

“The traffic is bad enough queuing into West Hallam every morning,” she explained.

“What will it be like with another 500 houses?”

Colin Stevenson, of Stanton Road, walks his dogs through the old brickworks, now overgrown and strewn with litter, regularly.

He said the land – used by Stanton Ironworks to dump waste into clay pits before the brickworks shut in the 1930s – is full of dangerous chemicals.

“I wouldn’t live on a house on here if you paid me,” he said.

“I’ve been told there’s cyanide in the ground and I’ve seen bright green seams of arsenic.

“You wouldn’t want your kids playing in the garden with all that in the ground.”

He added: “It’d be a real shame to lose this place – it’s full of wildlife like pheasants, rabbits and buzzards.”

The area also contains a Grade-II listed brick kiln, which is in a state of disrepair.

Cllr Corbett said: “It looks as though the planning officers have looked again at the site, as they have everywhere else in the borough.

“It seems that some of the land there is not as contaminated as first thought.

He added: “At the end of the day we have still got to find that number of houses.

“If you take 700 houses out, they have got to be found elsewhere in the borough.”

Shipley View residents Chris and Bev Hendricks, who head the group which successfully fought the Manner Floods plans, said ‘joined-up thinking’ was now needed.

In a group statement they said: “When all is said and done, the borough is still faced with a housing land allocation problem.

“We are acutely aware that although Manner Floods is protected the issues raised during the last six months remain.

They added: “Erewash Borough Council’s challenge remains in how they overcome the issues and we look forward to seeing some lateral and joined-up thinking before we become known as the city of Ilkeston.”

In another apparent u-turn, the plan now states that 2,000 homes could be built on the former Stanton Ironworks site within the next five to ten years, after council planners had argued just months ago that a plan might not be on table within 15 years.

Cllr Corbett explained: “It sounds more likely that a planning application for Stanton could come this summer. If it does, I would be very pleased.

“But I don’t want to see just housing on Stanton, I want to see jobs on there too.”

To view the document which outlines areas where 6,000 houses could be built in the borough over the next 15 years online go to www.erewashcouncil.com/ldf/evidence-base/shlaa-2012.html