Multi-million pound Morrisons store plan in Ripley is turned down - but developers considering appealing

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Ripley’s trading hopes will focus on its town centre after councillors blocked moves to build a Morrison’s supermarket on open fields.

During a three-hour debate, some people told Amber Valley Planning Board the development would damage the town - while others claim it would lead to its revival.

By seven votes to three, members rejected the Clowes Westerman project, which would have included replacement playing fields and skate park as well as £2million to be spent on boosting the town centre.

After the meeting at Ripley Town Hall, the applicants said they would consider an appeal against the board’s decision, which was made in line with the advice of council officers, who recomme4nded the store plan be turned down.

Clowes Westerman expert Andrew Bock said the council owned most of the earmarked land and so local people would benefit from the scheme.

“Two supermarket operators were fighting for this site. The same operators will find an alternative site - but surely it is better sale proceeds go to Amber Valley,” he told the meeting.

Former Ripley mayor Ron Ashton said the supermarket would create 300 jobs and was “a fantastic development for the town.”

But the meeting heard that the scheme could harm trade at the East of England Co-op in the town. The society’s planning consultant David Pritchard added: “It would have a significant impact on the viability of the town centre.”

But local trader David Clarke, of Clarke’s department store, said: “Traders in the town are concerned about access and congestion. It would be detrimental to the town centre.”

Ripley town Cllr David Williams said the Morrison’s project would take jobs from other traders and resident Helen Wright told councillors: “I am disgusted you even consider building a supermarket on playing fields. These fields have been used by generations and should continue to be used by generations.”

Clowes Westerman did securepermission to build 126 homes on land off Nottingham Road and close to the Morrison’s site. The council owns some of this land which is now grassy with some trees and hedges.

To read more reaction to this plan see Thursday’s Ripley & Heanor News.

We want your views- leave us a comment on this story. Should the Morrisons plan have been given the green light?