Rubble was once lawn say residents

Protesters outside housing development on Lockton Avenue Heanor.
Protesters outside housing development on Lockton Avenue Heanor.

A group of Heanor residents say a housing association will be replacing a once predominantly green space with concrete if its homes plan is approved.

Ripley based Futures Homescape want to build 16 ‘family houses’, ten bungalows for the elderly and six apartments on the site of the former Delves Court residential bungalows for older people.

The complex was demolished in 2010 to make way for the scheme - leaving the site fenced off and strewn with rubble. It is now classified as a previously developed ‘brownfield’ site.

But now some neighbours say that - under the rubble - 70 per cent of the Delves Court area was covered in lawns prior to the demolition and should therefore be classified as Green Belt under planning law. Developers would need to show an ‘exceptional’ need for the homes in order to get permission if this were the case. Christine Smith, who lives next door to the site says “this is totally unfair.”

“There has been a complete failure to advertise the application as a departure application.” She added.

“This failure to comply with the correct procedures has afforded this application preferential treatment.”

Miss Smith says residents are concerned by the findings of a report by BSP Consulting which found the site to contain levels of arsenic and white asbestos. And 58 residents have signed a petition demanding the new houses be kept exclusively for the elderly to replace those demolished.

Futures Homescape says it did not demolish the buildings there to re-classify the land as brownfield. Project manager for the scheme Nick Wilder said: “We are aware of both the support and the objections that some residents have concerning the development and have taken these into account when finalising the proposal.”

The scheme is to be decided by planning board in November.