Callywhite Lane, Dronfield

The Local Plan included proposals for a 6-hectare industrial extension on the Callywhite estate. This raised many objections from residents relating to how extra HGV traffic would access the site and questioning whether new businesses would be forthcoming, given some history of longstanding empty plots. Existing problems with large vehicles negotiating the mini roundabout and T-junction at the awkward B6057 Green Lane / Callywhite Lane junction were highlighted at the hearings, along with the close proximity of Dronfield’s 1800 pupil secondary school and children’s facilities at Cliffe Park. Concerns regarding road safety and increased pollution in these locations were raised. The changing nature of employment needs on this industrial estate, from “heavy” industry to office-based jobs and a children’s nursery, for example, was discussed.

The Council had “floated” the idea of an access road being made from Chesterfield Road, before entering Dronfield, to connect to the extension at the southern end of Callywhite Lane. This had not been costed and no funding mechanism had been found. We raised points about the considerable expense of this access road, as a bridge would be needed to cross the railway line, river Drone and disused tip. Additionally, no compensatory monies would be forthcoming from the electrification of the railway line for the proposed HS2 spur to Sheffield, because planning permission for the industrial extension has lapsed. Lynne Gadsden met with an HS2 engagement manager prior to the hearings to clarify HS2 compensation procedures and consider how HS2 may impact on the future of rail services and the overall sustainability of Dronfield to accommodate high numbers of houses in the longer term.

Due to these uncertainties, the Inspector has directed that Site WC1 should not be included in the overall allocations of employment sites within the Local Plan. She nonetheless acknowledged the importance of creating new employment opportunities in the town for its sustainability, hence we can expect the Council to revisit proposals for employment growth in Dronfield in the future.