Concerns over future housing growth in Amber Valley have been aired during several drop-in consultation events around the borough.
Packed public events in Denby, Ripley, Heanor and Alfreton saw council officers take residents’ questions on how a series of sites designated across the borough for large housing builds will impact on their lives.
Ripley and Heanor will shoulder much of the 9,000 homes set to be provided within the borough by 2028 .
This has seen the council face criticism for not designating sites in Belper as viable. But senior planning officer Rob Thorley, answering questions at a public event in Denby, said there were ‘good reasons’ for not planning to build in Belper. “Belper is very restricted - for a start as a lot of it is heritage site,” he said. “We will only use sites in the Greenbelt if it is absolutely necessary. North of Belper is Greenbelt and we could not justify an exceptional circumstance to build here.”
Mr Thorley said the council would consider smaller areas for housing allocation when it draws up its ‘site allocations and designs’ document next year- and this could then see Belper bear a portion of the borough’s new homes.
Sites designated at Nottingham Road, Ripley, and Alfreton Road, Codnor, are in the Greenbelt however. Mr Thorley said these were being seen as exceptional cases - as they would run alongside the proposed Ripley to Codnor relief road - and major developments on both sites will help to fund the road - a long standing commitment of the council.
People in the Denby area expressed concerns over how the surrounding road network would cope if proposals to use the Cinderhill land, just north of the village, for 1,800 homes are realised. Lisa Turner, 46, said she could also face flooding, as her Bottle Brook bungalow borders the proposed site. She said:” When these houses are built and bought and people Tarmac driveways and build extensions, these things all block watercourses and we will get more surface drainage into the brook.”
Alfreton Town Council says the town cannot cope with the building of 500 houses at Outseat’s Farm - along with 182 existing approved planning permissions. It cites long-term problems with noise pollution and delays caused by traffic congestion as well as “a significant shortage of green space in Alfreton.” Mayor Councillor Steve Marshall-Clarke said people had identified sustainable alternatives “only to discover that the sites put forward by the Borough Council are the ones identified by developers.” A public meeting is set for this Friday at Alfreton Community Hall at 6.30pm.