Cries of ‘it’s a joke’ were heard as angry Alfreton residents stormed out of Ripley town Hall moments after planning permission was granted to build 500 homes in the town.
Wheeldon Brothers bid for the houses, open space, retail and community facilities at Outseats Farm was narrowly approved – six votes to five – following a two-and-a-half-hour debate at the Amber Valley Borough Council planning committee meeting.
Nearly 20 residents spoke against the development at the meeting - raising concerns over the loss of Alfreton’s ‘last green lung’, its proximity to grade two listed Carnfield Hall and the damage to wildlife at the 43-acre greenfield site.
Almost every speaker raised major issues over the car movements created by such a build - and what was variously described as an ‘appalling’ traffic impact assessment conducted by Derbyshire County Council’s Highways department - which stated the re would be no ‘significant’ impact on the road network.
Leader of Alfreton Town Council Cllr Scott Walker said: “We are clearly disappointed - the town council has worked extremely hard to represent the people in the town - we did everything we could do to show the planning board this was the wrong site.”
Alfreton town Council spent £10,000 opposing the build and contracted PTB Transport Planning Ltd to carry out an independent traffic impact assessment on its behalf. PTB labelled the county council’s study as ‘flawed’.
But vice chairman of the planning board Cllr Alan Cox, said members had to decide on the application on the strength of the information presented to them. “We have to rely on independent traffic experts,” he said. “And in our case that is the county council highways department and the Highways Agency.”
Derbyshire County Council is preparing a response.