M&MCG started in late 2005 when it became clear that the Milford Mill Site would soon be re-developed. It was the view of a public meeting in late 2005 that a group should form with a formal written constitution and elected members. The Group was to help give any such plan full consideration by the widest audience and co-ordinate comment in an effort to get something built that was high quality, fitted the existing historic built environment and preserved the World Heritage Site status that, at that time, had recently been achieved.
Here is a summary from a meeting of February 2006 where John King, who by then was Chair of M&MCG, explained the process. Basically, we enabled consultations to take place between village residents and Lathams Architects who at that time had plans drawn on behalf of Clowes Developments that were universally viewed as wholly inappropriate. We also met with local councillors Belper Town Council (BTC), Amber Valley Borough Council (AVBC) and Derbyshire County Council (DCC) to establish dialogue and working relationships over such an important development in the heart of the village. We lobbied our local MP, English Heritage, SAVE (Campaign for threatened historic buildings) and secured the support of people like Kevin Mc Cloud (Grand Designs) and Ptolemy Dean (Restoration) in an effort to get the development ‘right’ for everyone and the wider community.
The plan went to the Planning Board after a site visit when 80 residents met the Architect, a representative from Clowes Developments and an AVBC Planning Officer. That night it went to the Planning Board and was sent back to the drawing board. Since then there have been 6 revisions in the interests of ‘getting it right’. The Milford and Makeney Community Group in its early days made that happen.
However the mill development meant that we became involved in all sorts of other areas, many of which are the concerns of the group now, some recent examples being road safety – such as campaigning for the Puffin A6 road crossing – the new Milford playground installations, and work promoting and organising this website. Over the years we have also taken up a number of other planning issues. For example, we were full members of the Belper & Milford Townscape Heritage Initiative; we liaised with DCC Conservation Team World Heritage Site. We have also looked at activities for young people in Milford and had a ‘Vision Day’ in 2007 where a ‘wish list’ was pulled together from a day-long workshop with residents, which still holds good! Also, the idea for what became ‘Blooming Milford’ was originally an offshoot of the Milford and Makeney Community Group.