New life is to be breathed into a sprawl of derelict land in Chesterfield after ambitious plans were approved.
Chesterfield Borough Council’s planning committee unanimously backed a masterplan to transform the former Walton Works site and vacant land to the south of it.
The impressive plans – including hundreds of new homes, retail units, offices and a pub – have been devised by Chesterfield company Robinson PLC and Hathersage developers Blue Deer Ltd.
Guy Robinson, finance director and company secretary for Robinson PLC, said: "We are very pleased that after 14 years of trying we have now found a basis to move forward with the redevelopment of Walton Mill and its surrounding land.
"The unanimous backing of the planning committee and the very positive attitude shown by the planning team really does give us the confidence to push ahead with our plans."
The application sought full planning permission to restore and convert the Grade II listed Walton Works building – formerly the Robinson healthcare factory – into ground-floor retail units and offices with 26 apartments above. A separate nearby block would consist of 11 more properties.
The Walton Works building – which had been vacant for at least 13 years – is in a poor state and has been placed on Historic England’s 'at risk' register.
In addition, the council granted outline planning permission for almost 400 additional homes and apartments, two retail units, a pub and parking facilities on the rest of the sprawling site off Chatsworth Road, which also takes in the vacant Goyt Side Mill and Boythorpe industrial estate.
A previous planning application to redevelop Walton Works was submitted to the council by another firm in 2012. However, this was disposed of by the authority last September due to a lack of progress.
A spokesman for Robinson PLC and Blue Deer Ltd said the fresh plans would provide 'much-needed' housing for the area.
In a statement on behalf of the two companies, consultants Cerda Planning said: "There are clear environmental benefits to the proposals associated with the regeneration of the existing site from a visual perspective as well as restoring an existing Grade II listed building which is currently on the 'at risk' register. The proposals would also remediate existing contamination.
"The proposals would create a significant number of jobs - both indirectly through the construction, maintenance and supply chain and directly through operational jobs.
"The proposals would also attract people to the area and the existing surrounding uses would benefit from shared trips and increased footfall. The inward investment would therefore boost the local economy."
The development must take place in the next three years.