No coaches blow to tourist trade

NBENBE120306a1 Trees removed next to Field lane car park Belper

NBENBE120306a1 Trees removed next to Field lane car park Belper

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A DECISION by the county council which prevents coaches from parking at a temporary car park is a missed opportunity for the town’s tourist trade, claims Belper’s Mayor Alan Cox.

Trees and hedgerows were removed from Field Lane last week to make way for the temporary car park, which will provide about 50 spaces.

Amber Valley Borough Council paid £1.136 million for 0.8 acres of land so it can eventually build a new leisure centre there.

Cllr Cox said: “I wanted some coach parking which the county council objected to on road safety grounds. They said coaches find it difficult to get off the A6 to Field Lane and off Field Lane into the car park. I’m disappointed that the county council has taken this attitude. Had this gone ahead, it would have improved the town’s tourism offer. It would also have improved trade.”

Ian Stephenson, Derbyshire County Council’s director of environmental services (highways) had backed a proposal for the car park for 12 months, but expressed concerns about the coach parking spaces.

A spokesperson for the council said: “The existing car park does not provide coach parking spaces and the proposed car park for the leisure centre does not allocate any coach parking.

“Therefore to introduce these for a 12-month period seems at odds with the existing and proposed uses. Whilst the use of Field Lane for access by private cars and service vehicles is established and will continue after the leisure centre development, (the director) would not wish to see Field Lane established as a route to a coach park and feels it would be better if these spaces were removed from the application.”

A house on the site was demolished in December 2011 to make way for the new facility, which received planning permission in summer 2011.

Amber Valley established the temporary car park to complement the existing car park with extra parking facilities for Belper and landscaping to improve the appeal of the area for motorists.

n What do you think? Will more coach parking boost tourism and trade in Belper? Let us know online or at editor@belpernews.co.uk