Part 1 - Initial Draft (February 2015)
2 SPATIAL PORTRAIT
2.1 North East Derbyshire is part of two Local Economic Partnerships; the Sheffield City Region and the D2N2 economic area covering Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. The west of the District is largely rural and forms part of the Peak District National Park (It should be noted that this Local Plan does not cover the area of the District which falls within the National Park). Located in the centre of the country, the District has good accessibility by road and rail. The M1 motorway lies to the east of the District. Whilst Dronfield is the only one of the four towns to have a railway station, Chesterfield, with good services to both London and the north, is located close by. MAP 2illustrates the geographical location of the District, its key linkages, and relationships with the surrounding area.
2.2 The four towns of Clay Cross, Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh have important roles in providing the economic and social hearts of the District. Almost half the population of 99,023 (2011 Census) live in the 4 towns, The District has an aging population and fewer people under the age of 35 than elsewhere in the East Midlands and nationally. There are 41,970 dwellings in the District (2011 Census) and a shortage of smaller homes (1-2 bedrooms) homes and affordable housing.
2.3 Employment opportunities are provided in or close to the 4 towns, although the District will also benefit from employment opportunities offered at Markham Vale, a large site close to the junction 29A of the M1, despite most of the development lying within Chesterfield Borough and Bolsover District. The District’s residents also benefit greatly from employment opportunities in the wider City-Region with almost 50%of the working age population commuting there, 40% to Sheffield and Chesterfield, in roughly equal numbers (2011 Census).
2.4 A key feature that gives the District its distinctive character is the green space that separates and links its towns and villages. Local people have already identified the importance of this green space and a key feature of the Strategy will be to ensure that opportunities to access this countryside are increased.
2.5 Although a recent survey1 has indicate that 84% of the population is satisfied with the local area as a place to live, the index of Multiple Deprivation shows that 9.7% of the District’s population lives in the 20% most deprived neighbourhoods in the country in terms of factors such as low income, poor health, low employment, poor education, and skills, and problems accessing housing and services. Some residents in the relatively affluent western portion of the District also have difficulties accessing certain services and housing.
2.6 The District’s landscape is one of contrast and diversity. The western part of the District extends up to the edge of the Peak District National Park, including some of the finest Derbyshire landscape outside the National Park. The south and eastern parts of the District contain larger settlements and alongside evidence of their industrial past are large areas of attractive countryside where the landscape has a distinctive local character.
2.7 Distinguishable characteristics displayed across broad areas of the District have led to the Council proposing to divide the District into 4 distinct sub-areas, for the purposes of the Local Plan. This will allow the differing needs of these areas to be addressed. These are shown in Map 2.
2.8 The sub-areas are based upon common characteristics, including economic, social and environmental conditions and the connections to, and influence of, surrounding areas. The 4 sub-areas are described below. The Spatial Strategy sets out the proposed policy approach for each sub-area.
2.9 The North of the District is the area containing the parishes of Dronfield, Eckington, and Killamarsh, and the surrounding countryside comprising mainly of wooded hills and valleys. The rural area lies entirely in the Green Belt and the settlements have generally been developed up to their boundaries, meaning that there are few development sites still available within them. All three towns have a coal mining history, although there is little evidence of that today. These towns relate closely to the Sheffield conurbation and many people commute out of this part of the District to work.
2.10 The west of the District lies on the edge of the Peak District National Park, and is particularly attractive. The area contains a number of villages and farms set in a rural backdrop of dark millstone grit that has provided the stone for many of the buildings.
2.11 The south of the District contains the town of Clay Cross and a group of other former mining settlements that includes Grassmoor, Holmewood, North Wingfield, Tupton, and Pilsley. Clay Cross is currently undergoing major regeneration in and around the town Centre. The Former Biwaters and the former Avenue sites have both been identified as important strategic sites that will provide new homes, jobs, and community facilities following restoration. Markham Vale Enterprise Zone will provide significant employment opportunities in the future.
2.12 The East of the District contains communities and employment locations which are strongly linked with Chesterfield and the M1motorway, including Holmewood, Calow, Long Duckmanton, and Temple Normanton. The area contains the business and distribution park with Enterprise Zone status at Markham Vale, as well as a major area of previously developed land at the former Coalite works, a large part of which is within Bolsover district.
1 North East Derbyshire Place Survey 2008