Derbyshire news in brief

Just 1,270 homes were built in Derbyshire in 2014 – a shortfall of 1,657 on the 2,927 experts predict are needed every year to keep up with demand.

The Government figures have been met with concern from the National Housing Federation (NHF).

David Orr, chief executive of the NHF, said: “The alarm bells sounded long ago and yet nothing seems to have changed. For the sixth year a row, new home building is at rock bottom. The public is now thoroughly aware that this country is facing a housing crisis on an unprecedented scale and despite a spate of short-term initiatives there is no grand plan. If tackling the housing crisis is about anything, it’s about building more homes. It’s the lack of supply and failure to cater for demand, which pushes up prices and leaves needy people out in the cold. Unless we act now and get building more housing of all types, but particularly genuinely affordable housing, we are in danger of making today’s housing crisis our children’s problem. That’s why we’re asking that politicians get their heads out the sand and commit to a long-term plan to ending the housing crisis within a generation.”

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Chesterfield residents can have their say at the latest round of Chesterfield Borough Council’s Community Assembly meetings. The meetings are held four times each year and allow residents to receive information and ask questions about projects led by the council and other partners. Councillor Sharon Blank, the borough council’s executive member for customers and communities, said: “I’d encourage anyone with an interest in their local area to come along to our Community Assembly meetings. This is their opportunity to find out what is happening in their area and to ask questions of the council and other partners.” The meetings will take place between 6.30pm and 8.30pm at the following dates:

• Chesterfield North: Wednesday, March 4, St Hugh’s Church, Littlemoor

• Chesterfield South: Thursday, March 5, Town Hall, Rose Hill

• Chesterfield West: Tuesday, March 10, Town Hall, Rose Hill

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• Chesterfield East: Wednesday, March 11, Staveley Miners’ Welfare, Market Street, Staveley

• Homeless people in Chesterfield are benefitting from a new scheme which is aiming to improve their eye health. The service is a key project of NHS England’s Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Eye Health Local Professional Network (LPN). Sight test sessions are being run at Pathways, Chesterfield, after the LPN was approached by the centre. Optician Michael Sumpton, who runs the sessions at Pathways, said: “The patients were very grateful for the service provided. Most had never had a sight test before and some had eye health needs.”

• An old car will be spruced up to raise pots of cash for a cancer charity. Chesterfield businesswoman Sarah Stevenson has bought a a banger for £250 and will decorate it then drive through Europe, finishing in Monte Carlo. The challenge will raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. Sarah, director of Astute Recruitment in Derby, said: “We are being sponsored by APS Fleet Services in Clay Cross and we are looking for other Chesterfield companies to donate bits for the car.” Call Sarah on 01332 346100. Donate at

• Nearly 25,000 families and businesses in Derbyshire now have superfast broadband, Government figures show. A £1.7billion investment by the Conservatives means 24,876 premises across the county have access to faster internet speeds. By 2017, 95 per cent of the UK will have access to superfast broadband – compared to 45 per cent in 2009 – according to the Conservatives. The investment is also creating jobs and boosting the economy, the Government said.

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• The leader of Chesterfield Borough Council has called for the introduction of banning orders for yobs who use legal highs in public places in the town. Speaking at a borough council meeting on Thursday, Councillor John Burrows said: “If we can issue alcohol banning orders, we should look into banning orders for legal highs in public places. If banning orders are introduced, resources need to be in place to make sure they can be enforced,” he added.