Latest news

A detail from Burdetts Derbyshire map 2nd edn 1791


Please go to BASA Face book page - click this link http://www.facebook.com/groups/219168041485873/

OR click email BASA to send a message

Please note at this present time the web site will no longer be updated.


CRIB - Canal Regeneration In Bullbridge

We have formed a new group, called CRIB, to campaign for the restoration back into water of the stretch of the Cromford canal that runs through the old Stevenson's site. Our new campaigning group comprises people drawn both from BASA and from FCC (Friends of Cromford Canal). We also welcome our local Councillors, and anyone else who can make a positive contribution to our campaign.

Our aim is to persuade any future redeveloper of the Stevenson's site to return the canal to water alongside the redevelopment.

We are also campaigning for a redevelopment that reflects local needs - for affordable homes and flexible homes, as well as community facilities. 

We put this proposal to BASA members attending our recent AGM. Agreement was unanimous.

Follow CRIB on Twitter @CRIBderbyshire for latest news.

We have a 'CRIB Derbyshire' Facebook page, too.

BASA on Facebook

Remember that BASA has a Facebook page.

Go to http://www.facebook.com/groups/219168041485873/


... and a new email address (as from 12th November 2014):

email BASA

17th November 2014

BASA understands that this is DSM's final week on the old dye works site. From what we can see, the DSM contractors have done a very professional job of clearing and reprofiling the site. Who can now say that Bullbridge is not Beautiful?





6th August 2014

Stevenson's Dye Works - Going, Going ... Gone?

6th August 2014. DSM demolition contractors have been working to complete the demolition of the old Stevenson's dye works for the past five months (DSM arrived on 10th March 2014).

This first photo shows the main part of the site today, 6th August 2014. 




26th October 2011

The second photo shows the same view on 26th October 2011








DVMWHS Discovery Days 1st and 2nd November 2014

Johnson & Nephew Ambergate Wire Works

Once again we are pleased to report a successful and popular Discover Days weekend.

We were all delighted by the numbers of people who visited our Heritage Exhibition, or joined our walks.  It was particularly pleasing to see our Mayor and Councillors enjoying our local heritage displays and, of course, slices of cake and cups of tea. Our undercover photographer snapped County Councillor David Williams and Ripley Town Mayor, Councillor Roland Emmas-Williams, in deep discussion over local issues.


There has been particular interest in our efforts to begin recording the major part that Johnson & Nephew's Ambergate Wire Works have played in the lives of Sawmills and Bullbridge people for more than a century. Our second photo shows two wire gauges from the Ambergate works in use a century and more ago. They formed part of the display of historic wire drawing tools that Sawmills resident, Stan Charlton brought to the exhibition. Look carefully and you can see the names of the men who used them, engraved at one end.



Do you remember these Office Employees?

Johnson & Nephew Memories

Did you or a Relative work at Johnson & Nephew Wireworks, Ambergate?

Do you have Stories, Photographs or Memorabilia to share?


At our Discovery Days Exhibition this year (1st and 2nd November 2014) we will be highlighting Johnson's, its Employees, and its History.

Following the Success of our first get-together on 4th June, we shall be hosting a Second 

Johnson's Memories Day

Were you a member of the J&N choir?


at Sawmills Village Hall on Wednesday 8th October

from 1.30pm to 4.30pm

Why not come along for a chat, tea and cake. You will be made most welcome.


For further details contact Gill Hirst, Secretary, on 01773 856178

or email via the link above

or visit our Facebook page:



Our Fifth AGM - Thursday 10th April 2014

Sawmills Village Hall, 7.30 pm

Come along and support YOUR civic society. Everyone is very welcome.

Please think seriously about joining the BASA Committee.


We also look forward to welcoming a speaker from Severn Trent who will tell us about the latest developments wrt the Reservoir repairs.

Come along and have your say.


Followed by time to catch up on gossip over a cup of tea.

There'll also be a raffle.

Stourport basin regeneration

Video showing the benefits of canal restoration

If you want to see how Bullbridge and Sawmills will look, and thrive, when the Cromford canal is eventually restored, then watch this video:


Every £1 invested into canal restoration brings £7 into the local community

Canal side properties sell at up to 20% more than ordinary properties

Canal restoration provides both short term and long term employment

Restored canals benefit both the physical and the mental health of local people




Here is an overview of the old Stevenson's dye works, in the derelict state it's been for the past five years, but with visible demolition just beginning. You won't be seeing the old buildings there for much longer. 




Tuesday 8th April 2014

Stevenson's - Demolition 

Looks like the clearance of the dye works site will be looking more obvious from today, with the first buildings actually being knocked to the ground.




View taken on 10th May 2014

Monday 12th May

Stevenson's - Demolition

Compare this overview of the old dye works site with the view on 8th April 2014 and you'll see just how much demolition work has been done already. The early 20th century buildings beside the River Amber are gone. The Big Green Shed finally disappeared at the end of last week.



Amber Dye Works as it was in 2008

Stevenson's in 2008

Here's an overview of the dye works site as it was in 2008 when it was still busilly employing local people.








Monday 10th March 2014

Good News! Stevenson's

At 8.25 this morning DSM contractors began moving onto the derelict Stevenson's site. They are setting up portacabins and bringing in an asbestos removal team. At long last - after FIVE years of waiting - we can look forward to seeing the end of our nine hectares of mess.



21st March 2014 - Stevenson's

Our impression is that DSM contractors mean business. Although, from the road, not much appears to be happening - the derelict buildings further back have been sealed up with blue sheeting so that asbestos can be removed properly and safely. Not a pleasant job.




Bullbridge Line Boasts Oldest Railway Tunnel

February 2014 - the Guiness World Book of Records has recognised that the long forgotten railway tunnel on the 1793 Crich to Bullbridge railway line is the world's oldest.

For the past year the Butterley Gangroad Project, a group of local enthusiasts, has been researching Benjamin Outram's 1793 railway line constructed to bring lime stone down from quarries below Crich to the lime kilns at Bullbridge. Trevor Griffin gained Heritage Lottery funding so that Wessex Archaeology could carry out a survey of the tunnel. 

Inside the worlds oldest railway tunnel

This tunnel runs under a road junction in Fritchley and had been long forgotten since it was filled in at each end to improve the gardens of adjacent properties. The tunnel is, in fact, remarkably high - a horse and rider could easily pass through.

Trevor Griffin has written about the Butterley Gangroad for the Journal of the Derbyshire Archaeological Society. It will be published later this year. You will also be able to see maps and photos of the research in our BASA exhibition for Discovery Days 1st and 2nd November 2014 in Sawmills Village Hall.



Stan Byard eldest resident of Sawmills

Oldest Resident at BASA Exhibition


Oldest resident in Sawmills 97 year old Mr Stan Byard was one of the first to visit the BASA DERBYSHIRE DISCOVERY DAYS EXHIBITION NOVEMBER 2013 at Sawmills village hall this weekend.

Stan is pictured with BASA committee member David Hirst, Stan's son David Byard & local County Councillor for Heage & Ambergate David Williams.


Re-dedication of the Sawmills War Memorial at the Sawmills Village Hall, Thursday November 7th 2013.

Gill Hirst appeared briefly on BBC East Midlands Today (item starts at 14.18)

The event was a huge success, being attended by over 40 Sawmills residents.







Saying hello!

A week of walks got under way with BASA committee member June Ward leading a superb walk in the AMBER VALLEY for DERBYSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL ADULT LEARNERS WEEK

Incorporating the Pye Bridge Line train track bed, unusual sections of Cromford Canal, strolling through rolling fields with far reaching views of both sides of the valley. Stories of a 16th century hall from royalty to ghostly visits, a six sail tower mill and a 19th century colliery site. Approximate walk time 2 hours, mostly on level footpaths with some gradual inclines as well as stiles.  


Walking the Butterley Company railway line

A second walk was lead by BASA Chairperson Freda Raphael.


Exploring the routes of two mineral railways (one 1793 – 1930’s; the other 1840 – 1960’s) that brought limestone from Crich quarries to lime kilns at Bullbridge and Ambergate. Regular stops to discuss historic sites. Approximate walk time 5 hours, bring packed lunch & drinks.



Exploring the wealth of transport & industrial history

Treasurer and Membership Secretary Geoff Simms leads our final walk of the week.


A figure of eight walk at a leisurely pace, explores the wealth of local transport and industrial history, including Cromford Canal, turnpike roads, and Stephenson’s railway. Approximate walk time 3 hours; mostly level footpaths, but with some steep sections and steps etc.





Rear of the old malt house, now in a derelict state

Stevenson's site

Will things start to happen in 2013?

We understand that that the Receivers and AVBC have - at long last - reached an agreement wrt the NINE HECTARES of DERELICTION that once was Stevenson's Dye Works.

Will the site soon be decontaminated and levelled?

We hope so, although AVBC have not yet replied to our request for a meeting. 



Upper portion of the Steep having a 1 in 4 gradient

Bullbridge & Sawmills Area Civic Society (BASA) are please to announce they have been successful in two bids for funding for much needed ephemera and equipment.


Amber Valley CVS (community voluntary services) small grant funds award will purchase waterproof orienteering document bags & cases, small ruck sack, first aid box, children’s safety gloves. This will benefit members & non members of our local community also Amber Valley area walking groups and other voluntary groups.

We take walks throughout the year expanding over various fitness levels incorporating our Rich Industrial Heritage History. 

INTERESTED  - then please click the contact us button at the top right corner of the BASA home page. 

Derbyshire County Council Community Action Grant Fund will go towards the invaluable gain of large laminated historical maps of our community area.

Funding will also purchase a transcribing recorder with speech recognition to assist the initial stages of our collated oral histories project. We hope to publish a small book in the very near future; the book will be a permanent record and will be accessible for future generations.  

HAVE YOU any memories or photographs of days gone by and would like to share them with us -  then please click the contact us button at the top right corner of the BASA home page.

Stone archways along the canal at Sawmills

BASA Discovery Days Tuesday 30th OCTOBER, Saturday 3rd & Sunday 4th November 2012

An enjoyable and very successful weekend all round. 

As part of this years Packed programme, BASA members led three Heritage Walks and put together an Exhibition focused on the brickworks and quarries of the locality. Past memories of the area, railways and Cromford canal were also enjoyed.

Almost 200 people came to see our Exhibition in Sawmills village hall. Many visitors lived in the Amber Valley area, some had travelled from Leicestershire, & Staffordshire. Lively discussions recalled memories, over tea and homemade cakes.

All BASA walks were full to capacity or well attended.

As a cicic society, we are actively gathering recollections, photos, images and artefacts associated with our rich Industrial and Transport History.

We have a long way to go. If you can help us in anyway - perhaps your ancesters lived or worked in our area - please do get in touch via this website.

BASA would like to thank everyone who joined our walks or visited our Exhibition during Discovery Days 2012.

We look forward to seeing you next year.

Hay fall,lories load hit live bridge

Saturday 1st September 2012

A lorry has hit the live bridge over the last few hours and lost some of its load, fortunateley it was only straw bales. Would have happened prior to 9.15 am



Old Pye Bridge Line Railway Bridge

10th May 2012: Derbyshire County Council's (Highways) plan to demolish the old railway bridge spanning the A610 are delayed once more, according to a recent article in the Derby Telegraph.

See http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/Safety-repairs-busy-road-bridge-cost-pound-450/story-16010831-detail/story.html for the DT report. 

Considering the cost of the repairs to the nearby Ripley viaduct discussed in this article - and their urgency - one wonders whether the thousands of pounds set aside to demolish the old bridge wouldn't be better spent towards making the viaduct secure. 

Johnny Gaunt, rat catcher and Sawmills character a century ago

Our Third AGM - Thursday 19th April 2012

Sawmills village hall was full for our third AGM and open meeting. Chairman, Freda Raphael, looked back briefly over BASA's achievements during the past three years, and then looked forward to our future. The hope now is to gather people's memories of life in the area during the twentieth century. These memories should give a foundation to researching the area, including people's work and occupations - such as brickmaking, lime burning, the canal and the railways, and dyeing. Many of these occupations are neglected by historians, but they were essential for 18th, 19th and 20th century industries. 

Treasurer, Geoff Sims then presented the annual accounts giving a breakdown of our income and what we have spent.

The committee was willing to stand again for another year but pleaded for more members to join. We are very pleased to welcome Beryl Bullman onto the new committee.

Following the AGM committee members presented several topics for discussion:

  • NPPF - the National Planning Policy Framework - the biggest change to English planning guidance for fifty years
  • Localism Act and the Ripley Neighbourhood Forum. Following this discussion the meeting agreed that BASA should become involved in discussions about the new Neighbourhood Plan. Freda Raphael has been attending these meetings, meanwhile, as a resident.
  • Future redevelopment of the Stevenson's site. BASA is arranging a meeting with representatives from Freeth Cartwright, the planners appointed by the receivers of J G Land & Estates to put forward a new redevelopment plan.
  • Lockwood's
  • Our Memories Project and possible HLF funding


At the end of the formal part of the evening members and visitors chatted noisily over tea and biscuits whilst the raffle was called.

Many thanks to everyone who attended. I hope you'll agree that it was a worthwhile as well as an enjoyable evening. 


Stevenson's Redevelopment - Latest News

2nd May 2012 - Residents today received notification of the outline planning application for the redevelopment of the old dyeworks site at Bullbridge.

The planning application code number is AVA/2012/0346. You can download the details from the Amber Valley website www.ambervalley.gov.uk or you can go in person to the council offices in Ripley, during office hours, and ask to see them.

All comments concerning this planning application must reach AVBC by Friday 18th April 'to be certain of being considered'. 

Bullbridge and the Stevensons site from Ridgeway

Village Hall Meeting held on 12th January 2012

The Old Pye Bridge Line Bridge

As many of you will know, Derbyshire County Council have decided to demolish the old railway bridge spanning the A610 at Bullbridge - and to do this very soon. DCC reckon to spend £250,000 on the demolition. An overwhelming majority of BASA members at the meeting voted to continue the campaign NOT to demolish. BASA believes that there are too many local issues surrounding demolition and are once again requesting that the decision is postponed for another year.

In any case, when DCC is supposed to be finding ways to save Millions, why spend £150,000 of tax payers' money on a doubtful exercise? 

The main part of the evening was to question our local Councillors about local issues.

We welcomed Councillor Angela Ward (Ripley Town Council) and Councillor Maurice Gent (Amber Valley Borough Council) to our meeting. Unfortunately Councillor Juliette Blake (Derbyshire County Council) was unable to attend and sent her appologies.

BASA members and visitors questioned our Councillors over issues concerning:

the need to extend the 30mph speed limit into Riversdale as well as Ladygrove;

the very muddy state of the pavement between Bullbridge and Riversdale,

the continuing dereliction of the Stevenson's site,

the provision of rubbish and dog bins,

and the ever-present problem of dogs fouling pavements.

Our Councillors assured us that they would do their best to address all these issues.

The meeting concluded with a raffle and plenty of gossip over tea, biscuits and home-made cake.

Thank you to everyone who attended.

Redevelopment at Stevenson's Dye Works Site

The nine hectares of dereliction that was once Stevenson's quietly gather their own flaura and fauna into a third year. However, for the past four or five months sharp-eyed residents have spotted occasional activity on the site. A group has been taking soil samples once more. Surveyors have re-surveyed the site. We understand that a redeveloper is in consultation with Amber Valley Borough Council about a possible redevelopment - but we also understand that with the current economic uncertainty, nothing much will happen in the forseable future.

We will do our best to keep residents informed.


Discovery Days 2011

Saturday 21st to Sunday 30th October

Celebrating the First Decade of the Inscription of the Derwent Valley Mills as a  World Heritage Site

As part of this year's Bumper Programme, BASA members led three Heritage Walks and put together an Exhibition demonstrating and illustrating the unique Transport History of the Bullbridge and Sawmills Area

Photos included the day Glossop

An industry that developed as a direct result of the combination of geology and good transport links was brickmaking, decorative tile making, and Derbyshire marble. Bricks, tiles and stone are a necessary part of most people's homes, but we take them very much for granted. And so our display of locally made Bricks and Tiles, alongside some historic photographs, was the cause of much lively discussion. There were once three brick works along our stretch of the Amber valley - but which bricks and tiles were made where? What exactly is an Ambergate Double Pressed? Did you know that the name Sawmills came from the stone cutting and polishing works set up here during the earlier 19th century by the Hopton Wood Marble Company?

As a civic society, we are actively gathering recollections, photos, images and artefacts associated with our rich Industrial and Transport History. We have a long way to go. If you can help us in any way - perhaps your ancestors lived or worked in our area - please do get in touch via this website. Many thanks.

BASA would like to thank everyone who joined our Walks or visited our Exhibition during Discovery Days 2011.

Heritage Walk 2010, Bullbridge

Sunday 23rd October: Bullbridge and Sawmills Heritage Walk led by Freda Raphael and June Ward

Meet at the Lord Nelson pub at the foot of Bullbridge Hill for 2.30pm start

You are welcome to park in the pub car park by kind permission of Bob, the landlord 


Saturday 29th October 12 noon to 4pm: Heritage Exhibition in Sawmills Village Hall

Light Refreshments will be available


Saturday 29th October: Bullbridge and Sawmills Heritage Walk led by Geoff Sims and June Ward

Meet at the Lord Nelson pub at the foot of Bullbridge Hill for 2.30pm start

You are welcome to park in the pub car park by kind permission of Bob, the landlord

STOP PRESS: This walk is now fully booked - but do visit our Heritage Exhibition where you can sign up for an extra walk BASA will organize during the winter months.


Sunday 30th October 12 noon to 4pm: Heritage Exhibition in Sawmills Village Hall

Light Refreshments will be available


Sunday 30th October: Bullbridge and Sawmills Heritage Walk led by Gill Hirst and David Hirst

Meet at the Lord Nelson pub at the foot of Bullbridge Hill for 2.30pm start

You are welcome to park in the pub car park by kind permission of Bob, the landlord

STOP PRESS: This walk is now fully booked - but do visit our Heritage Exhibition where you can sign up for an extra walk BASA will organize during the winter months.

Site of proposed new reservoir

Meeting held on Thursday 13th October at 7.30pm in Sawmills village hall

Proposed New Ambergate Reservoir

A well attended meeting heard Duncan Wratton from Severn Trent Water, and Andy Dawe from Atkins (engineering consultants) discuss possible strategies for lessening the impact on local people, and the environment, when the new reservoir is built.

The existing reservoir is part of the Derwent Valley Aqueduct system carrying water from Derwent and Ladybower reservoirs, in the north of the county, to as far as Derby, Nottingham and Leicester - and all by gravity. The original system was designed to last eighty years - and that was one hundred years ago. The system is now becoming critical, and parts are at risk of failure. Severn Trent Water plan to spend £100M upgrading and improving the system so that it will last for another century.

The Ambergate reservoir, above Bullbridge and Fritchley, is situated in the only position that allows the gravity-fed system to operate. It will be a massive logistical task to replace, enlarge and improve it - whilst keeping water flowing at all times to the major cities.

Duncan and Andy explained that their current thinking is to remove most of the old conifers from around the reservoir, leaving sufficient trees to shield and shelter the site. Then most of the spoil, removed to sink the new reservoir, can be stored on site, screened by the remaining trees.

Lorries will have to travel to the site, probably only four per hour during daytime off-peak. They would be bringing dry aggregate for mixing on site. There was much discussion as to the best route, which may well have to be along the A610 through Sawmills, then up Bullbridge Hill, and finally across fields by The Briars. The route that would disturb people least, going directly to the site from the A6, is strongly objected to by the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.

There will be another discussion, in the Glebe Field Centre, Crich, on 7th December. 

Severn Trent hope to submit their planning application in February 2012

BASA would like to thank Duncan Wratton and Andy Dawe for their clear presentation and the opportunity to discuss the issues involved.

Massive embankments around the Pye Bridge Line bridge

Threatened Ambergate to Pye Bridge Line bridge over the A610 at Bullbridge

29th March 2011 - BASA meets Councillor Chris Jackson and Neil Hickman


We're very pleased to announce that we finally managed to meet Councillor Chris Jackson. Neil Hickman, Deputy Director of Highways, DCC, attended too. BASA reps, Gill Hirst, Geoff Sims and Freda Raphael, were finally able to discuss all the issues surrounding the future of the bridge with Councillor Jackson and Mr Hickman. A full report will follow soon - or, simply attend our village hall (and AGM) meeting on Thursday 7th April at 7pm to hear more.

New Interpretation Board Unveiled

The New Cromford Canal Interpretation Boards have arrived at Sawmills!

Official unveiling by the Mayor of Ripley Councillor Angela Ward and the Chairman of Derbyshire County Council Councillor Robin Baldry

at 10.30am Saturday 5th March 2011

(Opposite the Mission Church, Sawmills)

All are Welcome to Attend!

Sawmills village hall will be open for refreshments from 9.30am Saturday

Meet the Mayor and Councillors, and Friends of Cromford Canal members, from 10am in our village hall

1st March 2011 - 8am: Gill Hirst interviewed on Radio Derby about Derbyshire County Council's plan to demolish the Pye Bridge Line bridge

Gill told Mark that this is a wider issue than simply knocking down a bridge that Derbyshire Highways say gets in the way of traffic.

Residents protesting to save the bridge

28th February - BASA Members Protest Against Threatened Demolition of Pye Bridge Line Bridge

Nineteen members of BASA turned out at very short notice on a bleak, raw Monday afternoon to protest at the high-handedness of Derbyshire County Council in not discussing the imminent plan to demolish this historic bridge.

Why the rush spend £150,000?

How do we know the costs won't escalate?

Why demolish the bridge when we need a bridge just there to take the  Ripley Greenway extension across the busy A610?

Read the article in the Derby Telegraph plus a lively readers' discussion.

Historic Canal Inn, Bullbridge

22nd to 31st October Discovery Days 2010

The Annual Events, Walks and Open Days for the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site

Adrian Farmer, DVM Co-ordinator, asked BASA to contribute to this annual event along the Derwent Valley. We led three walks around Bullbridge and Sawmills to introduce a wider public to our local heritage based around our unique transport history, including the Cromford canal and George Stevenson's Derby to Leeds railway.

54 visitors turned out to enjoy our walks. Many walkers were surprised by the amount of history crammed into such a small, and unknown, area. Many said that they drive through Sawmills or Bullbridge without giving them a second thought. For instance, they had no idea that the Bullbridge aqueduct used to stride across the A610 at Sawmills as well as across the main line railway. Walk leaders pointed out the remains of the aqueduct (a Scheduled Ancient Monument) and the footings of the 1840 arch that Stevenson drove through the aqueduct. These spectacular structures were destroyed in 1968 when the A610 was widened.

Other points on the walks included the remains of the Butterley Company lime kilns (1792), the Narrowings on the canal behind Sawmills (1794) where boats were 'weighed', the site of the Hopton Wood Stone Company saw mill (1850s, and hence the name 'Sawmills'), and the tiny railway bridge crossing Drovers Way. This bridge carried an early steam locomotive, Brunton's Mechanical Traveller,1812-15 between the lime kilns and Hilt's quarry, Crich, and so can lay claim to being one of the world's earliest railway bridges.

All agree that the opportunity to be part of the Discovery Days has raised BASA's reputation, as well as the Friends of the Cromford Canal

Many thanks to the walks leaders: Geoff Sims and June Ward, Gill and David Hirst, Freda Raphael and Gordon Stainforth. Clive Sturgess designed and produced the leaflets we gave the walkers. Clive's map and descriptions were invaluable for putting the numerous surviving historical remains into context.

Many thanks, too, to Bob at the Lord Nelson for allowing use of his car park as a gathering point.


16th August 2010 - BASA members meet Derek Stafford, AVBC Deputy Director for Planning and Regeneration

Nigel Mills MP arranged a meeting between BASA members, Derek Stafford and Councillors Juliette Blake and Angela Ward. Nigel Mills chaired the meeting. 

BASA members were pleased to have an opportunity to discuss the future redevelopment of the Stevenson's dye works site at Bullbridge, which has lain derelict and unsafe since spring 2009. The frank and open discussion filled an hour. Nigel Mills requested an overall Development Brief for the site, indicating that BASA's Vision for redevelopment includes the future possibility of including the Transco/National Grid site, too. George Jones brought his latest thoughts on an overall redevelopment, including a marina towards Ambergate, alongside a reinstated Cromford canal. George gave Derek Stafford a copy of his latest plans.

Everyone present agreed that it had been very useful meeting. 

14th July 2010 - Proposal to demolish old Pye Bridge line railway bridge before April 2011

Neither Residents nor Councillors consulted

A sharp-eyed resident noticed a very small announcement in the Derby Evening Telegraph on 14th July. The DET reported that Derbyshire County Council propose to spend £150,000 on demolishing the 1875 bridge taking the line of the Ambergate to Pye Bridge Line across the A610. 

Cllr Juliette Blake wants to know why nobody at DCC bothered to mention it to her, and why local residents have not been consulted. 'Why is this a priority when money is so tight?' she asks. Cllr Blake has written to Cllr Chris Jackson, DCC Cabinet Member for Highways. You can read the email trail so far here.

BASA understands that the question of the bridge was discussed at a DCC Highways meeting on 10th August. As at 20th August residents still wait to hear the outcome from Cllr Jackson.

See our Campaigns/A610 speed limit page for further news and discussion.

22nd July 2010

Interim court order from today

AVBC have taken further legal advice and are now using the Building Act 1984 to pursue JG Ambergate LLP. AVBC had already served a second Notice on JG Ambergate, expiring today, to no effect. The interim court order under the Building Act 1984 makes JG Ambergate, the site owners, directly responsible for maintaining the integrity of the site fencing. Failing to do this will be a breach of the court order.

AVBC will now look at the whole dye works site and seek an order that gives the owner an option to repair or demolish the buildings on the site, and to clear up the rubbish that arises from the demolition work.

Meanwhile, the remaining buildings, especially the two stone cottages, are becoming more derelict and overgrown with saplings of ash and Buddleja.

Residents' anxiety over the state of the Stevenson's site

26th May 2010 

Darren Hurst is hoping very soon to hear what AVBC has decided to do about the safety of the Stevenson's site, including the heaps of rubble with asbestos containing materials. The recent prolonged spell of very dry weather has increased residents' concerns - and with winds coming predominantly from the North and NW recently, there are also concerns that dust may reach the Moorlands Road and Ridgeway areas. Freda has emailed Darren Hurst (AVBC) and Nigel Mills MP asking what they can do.

22nd April - Darren Hurst tells us that JG Ambergate LLP were baled out at the last minute. AVBC is therefore continuing to pursue JGA to make the site safe, to secure the perimeter fence so that local children will not be tempted onto the site, and to complete the demolition process.

9th April: AVBC's Scientific Officer, Darren Hurst, has served an Abatement Notice on JG Ambergate LLP to remove all quantities of asbestos containing materials from the Bullbridge site. You can read the entire letter from Darren Hurst here.

It would appear that JG Ambergate LLP are the actual owners of the old Stevenson's site rather than JG Land & Estates. It would also appear that JG Ambergate LLP will be Petitioned for Insolvency in the Chancery Division of the High Court, London on Wednesday 14th April.

17th March - Despite trying to make contact by phone, email and in writing, Daren Hurst has received no response from J G Land & Estates concerning residents' fears about the composition of the two heaps of rubble lying on the site.

4th March: Several residents are concerned about the dereliction of the old dye works site.

It is already more than one year since the demolition men moved in, leaving in early April 2009 with only half of the site demolished. One year on, and following an unusually cold and snowy winter,
two heaps of assorted rubble are no longer sheeted over. Residents are concerned about what these heaps contain and what will be blowing about with the return of warmer, dryer weather. Freda Raphael has spoken to Darren Hurst, Scientific Officer at AVBC who is urgently investigating this problem


Cottages and Malt House steadily decaying

BASA is also concerned about the steady deterioration of the old stone cottage and the old stone malt house, both close to the canal bridge on Bullbridge Hill. Freda has emailed JG Land and Estates, and phoned, expressing concern, but she has received no reply at all.

Our first Annual General Meeting

Thursday 13th May 2010

Yes! it really is a year since BASA was born. We held our first AGM in Sawmills village hall earlier this evening, 13th May. There was a good turnout, the previous committee was re-elected, and there was time afterwards for people to talk about current issues. There were also more historic photos and maps to look at, and the tea urn was kept busy.  

You can read the Agenda here.

You can read our latest Newsletter here.

See the Meetings page for more details.

Saturday 17th April 2010: Launch of Civic Voice

Building Centre, Store Street, London

Our Chairperson, Freda Raphael, attended the launch of Civic Voice on Saturday. Civic Voice is the new charity rising from the ashes of the Civic Trust, which disappeared a year ago, just as BASA was roaring into being.

Delegates from civic societies all over England applauded Ian Harvey and Tony Burton for their energy and committment during the past year in keeping the civic flame alive via the Civic Society Initiative - and now, in the launch of the new charity, Civic Voice.

Griff Rhys Jones, the President of Civic Voice, addressed delegates, urging them to be active busy bodies in opposing the trend for centralised decisions overriding local opinion.

Later, the architect, Sir Terry Farrell, encouraged delegates to put forward new ideas into the public realm. Sir Terry, for instance, opposes current thinking that puts traffic management before pedestrians. He also believes that our present Planning system does not work.

At the end of a stimulating day, members of Camden Civic Society took delegates out into perfect sunshine for a guided walk around Fitzrovia and Bloomsbury.

Brian Blessed visits Sawmills

Mike Kelley and the Friends of Cromford Canal met Brian Blessed, President of the FCC, at Sawmills village hall on Monday 12th April.

Brian Blessed received a (big) cheque for the FCC from Derbyshire County Councillor Juliette Blake.

It's not every Monday afternoon we have such a larger-than-life personality in our midst. Brian accepted the big cheque from Juliette to be spent on improvements to the Sawmills length of the canal. He then entertained a hall full of local people for an hour with his hilarious anecdotes and his boundless enthusiasm. Before he left we took him up to see the newly cleared Narrowings on the Cromford canal nearby.

See the gallery of pictures taken by Gordon Stainforth, our webmaster.

Clearing the Narrows, Sawmills

Bringing Sawmills history back to life

Over the winter months David Hirst has been organising residents and their friends to help clear trees and rubbish from the Narrows stretch of the Cromford canal at Sawmills. This is not a lock, as would appear, but the place where boats were 'weighed' to calculate the tarrifs due. The attractive stone cottage here was demolished, sadly, some years ago. But you can still see its stone gate posts and unusual stone fence posts beside the tow path.

Tree and shrub clearance will end early in March, when bird-nesting season begins.

Thank you to everyone who has lent a hand!

Muddy boots day with Barry Joyce and Gill Stroud

Monday 4th January 2010

Monday was cold and icy, but that did not prevent Barry Joyce MBE, Conservation and Design Manager for Derbyshire County Council, and Gill Stroud, the Historic Environment Record Officer of Derbyshire County Council, from driving over to Bullbridge and Sawmills. After warming up with hot coffee at the Nelson, BASA members Gill Hirst, David Hirst, Freda Raphael and Hugh Potter took Barry and Gill on a walk to see some of the sites now listed in our Bullbridge and Sawmills Gazetteer.

Work party on the Sawmills section of the Cromford canal

December 5th and 6th 2009

Several BASA members did their bit during the weekend to help FCC members clear trees, saplings and undergrowth from the canal bed. They were joined by volunteers from the Waterways Recovery Group who had travelled from all over England, giving up a whole weekend of their own time. Several young people from Sawmills also came along to help, and their enthusiasm was very welcome indeed. On the Sunday, several volunteers spent time - and much effort - in clearing out the Narrowings, where canal boats used to be measured. Much of the masonry is still in place here. With a bit more clearing out this stretch of the old canal will begin to look 'canal-ish' once more.

Thank you to everyone who came along to help during the weekend.



Oct 29th 2009: Residents concerns and comments re. the development of the old Stevenson's site

See our Stevenson's campaign page



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We feel that an umbrella movement for local civic trusts and societies is essential for grassroots credibility.

Elaine Smith
Blackpool Civic Trust

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