Plans for 2,000 homes mark a turning point in ironworks 'labour of love'
After years of indecision, plans for the Stanton Ironworks site have finally been made public. Joey Severn reports.
SINCE 2007, the Stanton Ironworks, a former titan of industrial work in Erewash, has lain dormant.
Since the last 150 workers walked out of the site that May, a question mark has lain over the 500 acre site to the south of Ilkeston.
Yesterday, those questions were answered when plans were submitted that would create 2,000 new jobs, boost the local economy by £26 million and make more than 1,900 houses.
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Files drawn-up by site owner Saint Gobain will also see new shops, restaurants and community facilities.
On top of this, there will be a health centre, a 150-bed centre for the elderly, allotments, a primary school and sports areas – as well as office, warehouse, and industrial space and new roads within the site.
An original proposal for the site was for 4,000 houses, with an access road cutting across greenbelt land and joining the A52.
This proved hugely controversial and a protest group of local residents and concerned activists, called Greensqueeze, was created.
In spring 2008, the company behind the original plans had to pull out after suffering in the 2007 financial crisis and the plans were to undergo a huge change.
Murray Lloyd, of property advisory company MLA, has been working as a project manager on the site since 2006. He said: "The plans have really been dictated by the cost of an access roads to the site.
"The cost to create the access road was prohibitively expensive. Once it got over £120 million the plans had to be restructured."
Despite number of houses being cut by half, the plans will still make up a third of the stock that Erewash Borough Council must fulfil in the next 25 years.
However, there are still traffic concerns.
Paul Harvey, chairman of Greensqueeze, said: "We are happy that the access road to the A52 is not going ahead.
"That still does not stop the real problem that we see, which is the knock-on affect in the surrounding area.
"I can see serious issues for Sandiacre, Ilkeston and even Long Eaton.
"The decision made now will have huge repercussions in the area for the next 200 years.
"We are not 'Nimbys', we just want to make sure we get things done properly."
Councillor Derek Orchard, who represents Draycott and Stanton By Dale, said: "It is very good news for the area.
"Traffic will be a serious issue and I would not have wanted to see a road going across greenbelt land.
"I have no doubt though that it will be hammered out over the coming months."
Mr Lloyd said: "We have completed detailed traffic surveys. These have shown the site will not have a serious detrimental impact on the roads in the area."
If the plans are given the go-ahead, work would be likely to start in 2015 and take around 15 years to complete.
However, with the recent announcement of the HS2 plans, completion dates could be moved forward.
Mr Lloyd said: "We were very happy when Toton Sidings was announced as being a potential station for HS2.
"We have put conservative estimates on the build time but, as plans become more concrete and demand increases, then work can be accelerated.
"This has been a labour of love for me but I believe that we will be making something really special."
Councillor Geoffrey Smith, Erewash Borough Council's lead member for regeneration and planning, said: "We will provide regular updates to keep people informed throughout the process."