New plan for homes on Derbyshire industrial waste site

Plans for homes on top of a controversial former Derbyshire landfill which poses a “risk to human health” look set to return.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 2:44 pm

An application has been filed for a screening request for up to 250 homes on the Amber Valley Rugby Club site in Somercotes – which sits on hundreds of tonnes of industrial waste.

The plans, submitted by David Ashley Construction, through Newcastle firm TNW Sadler Brown to Amber Valley Borough Council, come ahead of a formal planning application.

A report filed by Youngs RPS, on behalf of the applicant, says: “A ‘high wall’ surrounds the site as a result of its open case mining history, evidenced by the slopes that surround the rugby pitches.”

Amber Valley Rugby Club
Amber Valley Rugby Club

This slope leads directly to another former landfill site, filled with hundreds of tonnes of toxic and hazardous materials, which residents claim has been leaching harmful substances.

The applicants acknowledge the known contamination and risk to human health on the rugby club site, but claim that mitigation measures to offset this have now been scoped out.

It was contamination concerns which saw previous plans for 200 homes on the site refused by the council and by a Government inspector.

Amber Valley Borough Council will decide on the early plans, an environmental impact assessment screening, in the next few weeks.

The past few years have seen many housing plans submitted for land around two of Derbyshire’s most notorious former toxic landfills.

These two sites, in Somercotes, have been at the forefront of campaigns from local residents for years due to the huge amount of toxic waste – and what exactly that waste was – causing widespread concern.

The latest scheme comes on the back of the Government approving two housing schemes adjacent the site at appeal – after refusals from the borough council due to contamination concerns.

These applications, for 99 homes opposite the rugby club and 180 homes in Stanley Street, had been approved following a High Court decision over another Somercotes housing site near the toxic tips.

Plans for 200 homes at Nether Farm off Birchwood Lane were approved by the borough council but campaigners took this to the High Court, which, in 2020, ruled that housing schemes on contaminated sites could be approved – as long as strict conditions were in place to ensure remediation.

The housing plans which sparked an intense amount of scrutiny into the former landfills between Birchwood Lane and the Lower Somercotes road was a scheme for 200 houses on the Amber Valley Rugby Club site.

While the rugby club site landfill, LS41, is far less notorious than the one which sits above it to the north, LS01, it has been wrought with controversy.

In 2014, the borough council refused plans from Carter Construction (Derby) Limited for 200 homes on the rugby club site due to a lack of information about ground conditions and contamination.

Three years later, in July 2017, a government planning inspector refused the firm’s appeal, largely due to the unknown ground condition details and contamination.

The council declared the rugby club site “unviable” for building homes.

Plans for homes were dropped and plans for large industrial units came forward, with the site for sale for £4.2 million. There are far fewer restrictions for building industrial units on contaminated land than there are for homes.