Row over Derbyshire council's bid to sell land for dozens of new homes in village amid lockdown

A determined group of residents in a Derbyshire village are trying to prevent the sale of a small area of land in a last-ditch bid to stop dozens of homes being built.

Tuesday, 7th July 2020, 6:00 am

People in Glapwell say their amenities will be ‘stretched to breaking point’ if 62 homes are built on land off Park Avenue – in addition to a further 65 properties nearby.

They claim the sale of a piece of land, known locally as the Ransom Strip and owned by Bolsover District Council, is the final piece in the jigsaw for developers.

Bolsover District Council has given planning permission to Glapwell Nurseries for the development, but access to the site is dependent on the sale of the land.

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Glapwell residents are angry about the sale of land for homes.

An attempt to sell it by council officers amid the Covid-19 lockdown has now been ‘called in’ by councillors.

Sarah Bister, one of the residents who has opposed the development, called on officers to now ‘do the right thing’.

She said the council and developers had taken part in an ‘informal and unminuted’ meeting at the height of the pandemic on April 21.

“In early May the decision was then taken that it should sell the land,” Sarah said.

“The coronavirus crisis made opposing this so difficult, but we still gained 450 signatures from people who do not want to lose this land.

“The pandemic also further highlighted the need for it. Elderly residents and families live on Park Avenue and this land is vital for their physical and mental health and well-being.

“They also don’t need 170 cars coming up and down that road.”

Grant Galloway, the council’s director of development, told a growth scrutiny committee meeting on June 10 that the ‘proposed purchasers’ had contacted the council about the sale.

He said this would normally have been presented to the council’s executive, but due to the Covid-19 crisis this had not been possible.

With the need to act in a ‘timely fashion’ a delegated decision was taken to progress the sale of the ‘surplus’ land.

The committee voted by 9-1 to refer the decision back to Mr Galloway ‘in the interests of openness and transparency’.

A Bolsover District Council spokesperson said he could not comment further.

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