News that the plan to build a Morrisons store on the edge of Ripley has been recommended for refusal has sparked much response this week.
Councillors on Amber Valley’s planning board are being urged by borough officers to turn the store plan down when they meet on Monday, but to approve a plan for 126 homes on land off Nottingham Road.
Cllr Steve Freeborn, leader of Ripley Town Council, who has opposed both schemes, said: “Obviously I am very pleased that the officers have recommended that Morrisons be refused.
“They finally recognised that the conclusions of the retail studies they commissioned three times are actually right and it would be foolhardy to pursue.
“Whether the majority Tory group on the planning board agrees with their assessment is another matter. It is within their power to accept it.”
Cllr Freeborn described the housing scheme as ‘pernicious and wrong’. He said: “They use the argument that Morrisons is in the Greenbelt and would change the line of the proposed link road.
“Why doesn’t the Greenbelt issue apply to the sites where they want to build housing?
“It really should be chucked out like the other one.”
Stuart Bradford, leader of Amber Valley Borough Council, declined to comment on the specifics of the Morrisons application.
He said: “I am just waiting for the final outcome. I don’t want any accusations of manipulating or whatever. I am keeping the whole process at arm’s length until it has gone through. I have been accused of it being a put-up job and having secret meetings and all the usual rubbish. I have always said it will be dealt with by the planning process.”
On the homes, he said: “That site already has approval for industrial and commercial use and that has been granted for some while. I consulted with residents on Nottingham Road who said they didn’t want to look across the road at factories. I understand their point of view.
“Through hard work the applicants managed their aspirations. Hopefully the residents will approve.”
Last year Clowes Westerman said it would fund a £2 million revamp of Ripley town centre if its scheme gets the go-ahead. But critics of the move have described it as “gift-wrapping the demise of Ripley town centre”.
A third application to build a new A610 link road between the Derbyshire Police HQ roundabout at Butterley and the entrance to Ormonde Fields Golf Club at Codnor, including proposals for around 1,000 homes and a range of industrial, commercial, retail, leisure, sports facilities and recreation uses, will be considered in May.
The homes and store applications will be considered individually by the planning board on Monday. March 10.