“Somebody will get hurt” – Staveley residents left “frightened to death” by fires and anti-social behaviour at derelict pub

Vivien Collins and Billy Cooney, from the Staveley Improvement Team. (Photo: Brian Eyre)
Vivien Collins and Billy Cooney, from the Staveley Improvement Team. (Photo: Brian Eyre)

The Elm Tree Inn on Staveley’s High Street closed its doors permanently back in 2015 – becoming a target for anti-social behaviour after proposals to build flats at the site were rejected by Chesterfield Borough Council (CBC).

A planning application to create 20 self-contained apartments on the site of the Elm Tree Inn was submitted by representatives of New Methods Architecture Ltd in October 2021.

The plans, however, were refused by CBC in November 2022, with planning officers stating that the lack of on-site parking would lead to “indiscriminate parking on the highway” – potentially impacting the safety of road users and pedestrians.

Billy Cooney said that, despite some recent efforts to secure the site, young people were still able to gain access. (Photo: Brian Eyre)
Billy Cooney said that, despite some recent efforts to secure the site, young people were still able to gain access. (Photo: Brian Eyre)

Coun Dean Rhodes, who represents Inkersall Green on Staveley Town Council, said that the former pub has become a crime hotspot since the plans were rejected – with the building set alight on a number of occasions.

“Since that occurred, it has become a centre of anti-social behaviour. It has been set on fire numerous times and boarded up.

“The police came out a couple of weeks ago and put anti-social behaviour warnings up – kids then came and ripped them down.”

One Staveley business owner, who asked to remain anonymous, said she was scared that further blazes would occur, and expressed concerns about the safety of the young people entering the site.

The Elm Tree Inn closed its doors permanently back in 2015. (Photo: Brian Eyre)
The Elm Tree Inn closed its doors permanently back in 2015. (Photo: Brian Eyre)

She said: “The Elm Tree has been empty now for about nine years, and is going into a state of disrepair. I’m frightened to death because you never know when there's going to be a fire there – it’s been on fire at least eight times.

“It seems to be a magnet for local kids. Somebody is going to really get hurt in there, it’s derelict.

“The kids are turning up with bolt cutters and the fire service have found bolt cutters that they’re using to get in. They’re also climbing in through the windows. Somebody will get hurt – they’re going to fall through the floorboards. The building just isn’t safe.”

Billy Cooney, from the Staveley Improvement Team, said that recent efforts to stop people accessing the site had been unsuccessful so far.

He said: “It’s only recently that it’s been boarded up as good as it is now, but obviously that’s still not good enough. They’re still peeling off the shutters that have been put on.”

Coun Rhodes called on CBC to put pressure on the owner of the building to make sure it is kept secure. He said: “It’s the council’s responsibility to get the owner to make sure it’s safe. It just seems like, yet again, Staveley is being forgotten about. It doesn’t matter about us or the businesses in Staveley, but in my opinion, yes it does.

“We’ve tried every way I can, but nobody does anything about it. It’s just ridiculous. It needs to be secured properly.”

Coun Jonathan Davies, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We are aware of the persistent anti-social behaviour at the former Elm Tree Pub in Staveley and we are working with our partners to tackle these issues. We have engaged directly with the landowner and managing agent about a number of issues.

“The Community Safety Partnership has brought neighbouring properties together to try and prevent access over the boundary wall, requested that the boarding restricting access is repaired or replaced and encouraged the owner to remove the carport and repair the roof to prevent access to the first floor.

“Through our environmental health team we have visited the site to check for signs of vermin and also requested that the external area is tidied and junk items removed to further improve the look of the area and reduce the risk of pests.

“Anti-social behaviour is a blight on our communities and we will work with our partners and take action where appropriate to challenge this behaviour and reduce the impact on the community. Please continue to report issues with this property to both us and our partners in Derbyshire Constabulary. Your reports help us to target action and raise issues directly with the landowner.”

READ THIS: Derbyshire council consider bestowing Freewoman of the County title on World Cup footballer Millie Bright

A spokesperson for Derbyshire Constabulary added: “The force has been working closely with colleagues from Chesterfield Borough Council to target the issues seen in the area around Elm Tree Inn.

“Waste has been removed, the building repaired and extra security fencing has also been put in place.

“A specific patrol strategy has also been put in place and the local Safer Neighbourhood Team which has resulted in a number of young people being identified as trespassing and committing anti-social behaviour in the area.

“Letters have been sent to those involved and, should behaviour not change, then further action will be taken.

“It is absolutely crucial that any incidents of anti-social behaviour are reported promptly to the force – this will allow officers to have a proper understanding of the issue and help inform their patrol plans.

Anyone with information concerning anti-social behaviour at the Elm Tree Inn is asked to contact the force using any of the methods below:

Facebook – send a private message to /DerbyshireConstabulary

Twitter – direct message the force’s contact centre on @DerPolContact

Website – complete the online contact form here

Phone – call 101

You can also anonymously contact Crimestoppers to report any information on 0800 555 111.