Huge ‘urban park’ approved for Derbyshire town

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Plans for a huge new ‘urban park’ in a Derbyshire town have been approved by councilors despite concerns over protected newt ‘refugees’.

The application, made by South Derbyshire District Council to itself, will see a 21-acre park built off William Nadin Way, next to the Avant Homes housing site.

Its planning committee unanimously approved the project at a meeting on Tuesday evening (March 8).

The so-called “urban park” would include a 1.14 km family bike path, a pump track and an area where children and beginner to intermediate riders – and those on scooters – can hone their skills and learn to ride.

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The park is part of the 200-acre Cadley Park and was formerly known as Cadley Hill Colliery, with all mining activities ceasing in 1997.

A grand master plan has been drawn up for the wider park which includes hundreds of new homes, two golf courses, a family pub, country park and driving range.

At the meeting, councilors discussed issues raised by the National Forest Company and the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.

The two organizations had raised issues with the scheme, saying insufficient timber planting had been proposed and more work needed to be done to protect the great crested newts – which is a criminal offense to harm.

Sarah Beeby, planning officer for the district council, said the application could be approved with conditions ensuring that plans for the protection of great crested newts and improvement of landscaping proposals are submitted before public access not be allowed.

She said the National Forest Company and the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust had withdrawn their objections.

A license to carry out work on the site in such a way as to protect the newts and their habitat would be obtained and money would be given to compensate for the project.

The district council would itself manage the maintenance of the site.

More small trees would be planted as opposed to a few large trees.

Cllr Andrew MacPherson said: “It’s a really exciting program and it’s great to boost tourism and encourage people to get out into the countryside.

“I’m sure the people in these houses will be happy to see another park.”

Cllr Amy Wheelton asked what would be done to avoid any risk of injury to newts.

Steffan Saunders, the council’s chief planning officer, said it was an offense to harm the great crested newts and applicants should ensure no harm was caused to the creatures or their surroundings.

Cllr Trevor Southerd said he was “concerned about the large crested newt refugees” but called it an “exciting project”.

Grants from British Cycling and Sport England, along with money from the developers and the council itself, would help pay for the £1.1million scheme.

The project would include widespread planting of wildflowers, plenty of benches, bicycle parking racks, repurposed rocks and wooden trash cans.

Artists’ impressions of the project also show a sculpture and a report in application details indicating that the site could accommodate a “food or coffee truck”, also shown in the drawings.

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