A PROPERTY developer has bought 60 acres of land near Ripley in a bid to build 400 homes and an industrial park.
Godwin Developments has taken a 17-year option on a site between the A38 and B6179 west of Warmwells, and plans to invest around £500,000 in a masterplan.
But local people have raised concerns about the effect of possible competition for Ripley town centre.
Director Stephen Pratt said: “It will be part-residential, part-industrial and there will be a large amount of open space included in the scheme. We are talking to the council at the moment and intend to submit our masterplan by the end of 2012.”
Mr Pratt said Ripley suffered from a “massive shortage of housing and employment land” and that the site had been chosen because of its proximity to the A38.
The firm is in talks with Amber Valley Borough Council, before it submits a planning application.
Caroline Evans, 27, from Ripley Road, Sawmills, said she was concerned that a retail centre built close to the town may have a similar effect as Heanor Retail park had on the high street there. She has recently opened a book shop on Church Street in Ripley. She said: “The thing is people use these centres and if there’s enough there then even we would. At Heanor it killed the town centre dead. Heanor is a ghost town now apart from the retail centre.
Chairman of the Ripley business engagement forum, Martin Dudley said there had been rumours of a development on the old Fords Colliery site in Marehay circulated a decade ago, which he supported in principle. He felt that more homes in the nearby area would bring more shoppers into Ripley town centre.
But Mr Dudley, who owns a photography studio on Chapel Street said there were reservations at the time, that a neighbouring retail centre would draw punters away from the town. He said: “There is always free parking at these places but the trouble is when you come into town you have to pay for parking, there are obstacles stopping you from shopping here.”
If it obtains planning permission, the firm could sell the homes to a national house-building firm.
The company, which was founded in 2003 by brothers Stephen and Stuart Pratt, recently developed a one acre site on Derby Road, Heanor.
Among their other projects are the purchase of a 2.6 acre site from the People’s College Nottingham and a 2.2 acre affordable housing scheme in Eastwood.