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Amber Valley council to vote on housing plans near toxic waste dump

Land to the rear of Birchwood Lane, Somercotes, which is earmarked for development.
Land to the rear of Birchwood Lane, Somercotes, which is earmarked for development.

Councillors are to reassess plans for a controversial housing development in Somercotes next week, with residents insisting more work be done to ensure their safety.

The proposal to build up to 200 homes on land at Nether Farm, off Birchwood Lane, will return to the Amber Valley Borough Council planning board on Monday, June 18.

Somercotes residents have been protesting about the dangers of a historic toxic waste dump near their homes for more than 40 years.

Somercotes residents have been protesting about the dangers of a historic toxic waste dump near their homes for more than 40 years.

The development was first approved at a meeting in December, before it emerged there had been serious procedural errors in the board’s vote.

The scheme is not part of the pre-agreed local development plan but is again being recommended for approval.

However, a 40-year residents’ campaign continues to highlight the risk of contamination from nearby historic landfills which were once subject to unregulated dumping.

A spokesman for Somercotes Against Development said: “This is one of several planning applications with the same problem. We do not oppose new housing, but if the council want to approve it they should first do the work to prove the land is safe.

“In 2017, the Planning Inspectorate ordered the council to pay our £8,000 costs when it rejected plans to build on Amber Valley rugby club, after we employed our own environmental expert who was horrified by what he found.”

They added: “A plan to mine 1.68million tonnes of coal here was turned down because no one knew what waste was in the ground, but now it’s safe to build homes on?

“The council’s scientific studies are 10-years-old and deemed out of date. We don’t think the community should have to pay to protect itself.”

The council declined to comment on the case. To read the officers report, search for reference AVA/2017/0645 at ambervalley.gov.uk.