I too attended the exhibition of the proposed new housing developments on the former brewery site. Unlike the Save Our Brewery (SOBS) group I have different views on the plans for the site. Like it or not the horse has bolted, the brewery was sold for commercial reasons, losing jobs and leaving behind a wasteland blighting the Kimberley town. Metis has prepared a feasible development plan incorporating a heritage centre. This neglected site is long overdue development and could look attractive with tree lined terraced housing. The stumbling block for me is the fact that approval is granted for the initial 22 houses on yet another green field while wrangling and delays will continue over the listed brewery building, not to mention the provision for a tram terminal which may or may not happen sometime in the year dot. Again, like many such schemes, the consideration of the totally inadequate existing road infrastructure outside of the development is ignored. Those living along Hardy Street and Maws Lane already endure overcrowded access roads. Looking at the whole area makes one realise how little green field areas are now accessible. A drive along the congested old B6010 road between Nuthall to Ripley through Langley Mill and Heanor will reveal no more than a handful of roadside fields. It seems that every opportunity to fill all available sites along this road with retail outlets and housing are taken with little consideration for the quality of life . In terms of pollution and overcrowding we are living in city conditions. Ironically Prince Charles has called for a return of traditional meadows . It is said famers used meadows for the comfort and healing of their livestock. We could do with a bit more of that thinking around here.
As a resident of Kimberley, who lives in close proximity to the old brewery site, I would like to air my thoughts on the article on the fight to save the malthouse. I understand the argument for the need to preserve the town’s heritage and the old buildings help in that endeavour, but if that heritage gets in the way of real progress, then it’s time for some sacrifices. Kimberley needs regeneration and the old brewery site needs to be redeveloped. It has become, in my view, a massive rundown eyesore which attracts vandalism and the wrong sort of attention, within the town. I — and I think a lot of others in the town — would rather sacrifice an old building in favour of the whole site being regenerated. The regeneration of the site will add value to the area and will also bring jobs. Some jobs will be temporary, while the building works are carried out, but hopefully long-term jobs will be created by the new businesses moving into the finished site. However, if the developers decide that the restrictions being forced on them by others, such as the campaigners SOBS, are starting to make the site unviable, they may pull out. In pulling out, the site will then be left to completely decay and fall into complete disrepair, which no one wants. If this happens then campaigners, such as SOBS will have become self-defeatist, as forcing the saviour of one building, may cause none of the buildings to be saved. If campaigners like SOBS, want to be the real voice of the town, then why don’t they ask the local population for their views and opinions and why not even put the issues to a local vote?
Thankyou Mr Fretwell for the photographs of the Collaro workforce. My uncle, Harry Betties, lived in London and worked at the Collaro factory. There he was a personal friend of Christopher Collaro and when the London factory was bombed he came to work at the Vic Hallam site in Langley Mill. There he met my aunty Margaret. They got married and had two children and emigrated to New Zealand in the 1950s. Sadly uncle Harry died a few years ago, but aunty Margaret is still alive and well at the age of 91. We are still in touch and she only rang last week. I have posted her the photgraphs as I’ve identified them both.