The History of Codnor Common
Codnor Common used to be a much larger area, stretching almost up towards Denby. The 1835 map certainly suggests as much. The whole area of Codnor was given to William Peverel, the illegitimate son of William the conqueror, after the Normal conquest. Peverel built the castle at the other side of the village.
It’s likely the area now known as Waingroves Common – the Derbyshire County Council owned amenity including the children’s park – was part of the Common, as well as the site of Waingroves Primary School. We also have deeds placing Jessop Street on Codnor Common. Much of the land was lost in the 20th century to developments such as Holborn View, Eastfield Road, and Thompson Drive. Now more land is being lost in the 21st century to a development ironically named Eden.
The ‘Pentrich Revolt’
The revolutionaries came through Ripley and Codnor on their way to their ill-fated revolut. They stopped at the old Glasshouse pub on Glasshouse hill, so it is likely some of the revolutionaries were familiar with Codnor Common.
At only five miles away from Eastwood, it is likely that DH Lawrence knew the Common. His story, ‘Tickets, Please’ describes the tramline between Ripley (the last vestiges of the Common are now in Ripley Parish) and Nottingham and the tram went past the Common. In Lawrence’s time, the Common would have been farms, including Codnor Gate Farm and Meadow Farm (now an industrial estate and a council estate respectively, though many houses on the Meadow Farm development are now privately owned).
About Friends of Codnor Common
For the last 30 years and more residents of Codnor, Ripley and Waingroves have been seeking to protect the land in between the three settlements known locally as Codnor Common or simply ‘The Fields’. There have been interventions from the Secretary of State, political decisions to remove greenbelt status, TPOs extensively placed on the site and a planning inquiry for the first phase of ‘Eden’.
Formed in 2013, The Friends of Codnor Common was (and is) a non-profit making organisation dedicated to preserving and enhancing these ancient lands. We share a love of Codnor Common, land between the villages of Codnor, Waingroves and the town of Ripley, and our members come from all these areas. We’re dedicated to maintaining the land for future generations.
The Village Green application was made to preserve the land. From our questionnaires we can see 60 years of use, with generations using the land without challenge. If we had won the enquiry and gained Village Green status, the land would have had some protection, and the 96 houses at the Waingroves end would have been stopped.
Many friends and neighbours provided written evidence for the resulting inquiry at Lumb Farm, Marehay. Some volunteered to provide oral evidence in support of the application. Many people, including local councillors such as Steve Freeborn, attended to show their support.
The village green enquiry took places between 18 to 20 and 25 to 28 March 2013. The enquiry ran from 10am to 5pm, with an evening session from 6pm to 8pm on the first day.
The developer, Peveril Homes, sent a barrister as well as its legal representatives and managers. The leader of the inquiry was from the same chambers as Peveril Homes’s barrister.
Friends of Codnor Common were largely represented by Sylvia Mason, one of the applicants. The bid to protect the remaining Common site was unsuccessful.
AVBC Planning Board met on 13 May at 7pm at Ripley Town Hall and refused the application to build 79 houses on the Common behind Holborn View. Peveril Homes resubmitted the application, which was heard by the Planning Board on 12 August. The planning board again refused the application. Peveril appealed against the first refusal. This appeal was held at Ripley Town Hall on 22 and 23 October 2013.
On 11 February 2014, three months later than expected, the Planning Inspectorate published their report. This stated that the appeal has been upheld. Peveril Homes will be able to build on the land, leaving a strip. We understand the ownership of this small strip will be transferred to Ripley Town Council.
This strip appears to be the land designated as Local Green Space on the Ripley Neighbourhood Plan.
We believe this strip will be so subject to flooding that it should remain in the ownership of the developer: Peveril Homes/Peveril Securities/Bowmer and Kirkland.
We also believe that properties in areas such as The Orchard, Codnor, and Eastfield Road, Ripley will be at high flood risk due to the extra water pushed into the two streams bordering the site, one of which is known locally as Bailey’s Brook.
We would like to see a proper flood risk assessment carried out after Phase 1 of the build (on the Waingroves end of the site) has been completed.
We would also like to see the oak and ash trees with TPO that Peveril Homes/Securities had cut down before they had full planning permission replanted in the place they were taken out without permission. Peveril Homes could have potentially be fined £20,000 for each tree with a Tree Preservation Order cut down, but an internal investigation at Amber Valley Borough Council did not lead to this outcome.
You can find out about the village green application here http://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/images/2013-06-10%20Peasehil%20Codnor%20VG130_tcm44-225701.pdf
About Codnor Common: Wildlife
2017 update: More than half of this rich habitat has already been built on or spoilt, with stiles taken out and Heras fencing protecting most of the site. Ancient rights of way across the site have not been respected.
With three different types of habitat on this small area of land, wetland, grassland, and brush, Codnor Common is rich in wildlife – so many animals and plants are at risk.
The Common is a great destination for bird enthusiasts. Birds recorded on the site include the song thrush (Turdus philomelos), wood pigeon (Columba livia), blackbird (Turdus merula), starling (Sturnus vulgaris), carrion crow (Corvus corone), chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), coal tit (Periparus ater), goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis), robin (Erithacus rubecula) and magpie (Pica pica).
Visitors and residents have also reported seeing house sparrows, dunnocks, blue tits, great tits, coal tits, long-tailed tits, mistle thrushes, redwings, fieldfares, greenfinches, chaffinches, bullfinches, lesser redpolls, siskins, wren, collared doves, stock doves, black headed gulls, pied wagtails, buzzards, kestrels, sparrowhawks, tawny owls, little owls, jackdaws, rooks, jays, great spotted woodpeckers, goldcrests, swallows, swifts, and house martins. Not to mention these grey herons. RSPB red and amber declining species are regular visitors to the site.
But the Common promises more than just birds. A wide range of species live there. The hedgerows in particular are a hugely important for small animals such as hedgehogs and the areas of long grass provide the perfect habitat for small rodents. In 2011 the hedgehog was named in the top ten most threatened species in the country and we have them in abundance. Bats roost in the trees. Foxes hunt on the land and are left out food by residents. Squirrels compete with birds for nuts (and my suet balls). There may well be badgers.
Many species of trees can also be found on the Common, including the rare black poplar, horse chestnut, English oak, and ash. Some now have Tree Preservations Orders. The hedgerows are significant and there may be evidence of an ancient green lane.
The meadow itself is also a habitat type in decline across the UK. Meadow plants identified by a member of the group include common sorrel, red clover, white clover, meadow buttercup, creeping buttercup, common knapweed, common cats ear, creeping thistle, birds foot trefoil, tufted vetch, hairy tare, and silverweed. Natural grasses include Yorkshire fog and red fescue.