AMBER VALLEY: 200 houses set to be approved

Over 500 affordable homes will be built
Over 500 affordable homes will be built

Plans for 200 houses are set to be given the go-ahead for fields near Somercotes, despite mounting opposition.

The proposals have been put forward by Bernard Swain for nearly 20 acres of greenfield land off Birchwood Lane, near Nether Farm.

As well as the homes, which is it thought would include 60 starter properties, the development would include a 500-square-metre play area.

But concerns have been raised that more new homes are not needed in the area and the development would create extra traffic. Objections have been lodged by 28 residents, a county councillor, Derbyshire County Council and Somercotes Parish Council.

Despite the objections, Amber Valley Borough Council planners are recommending that the scheme is given the green light.

According to a report to the council’s planning committee, County Councillor Paul Smith, Labour representative for Ironville and Riddings, highlighted that he believed there was no need for the new homes.

He said: “Amber Valley Borough Council now has a five-year housing land supply and so there is no need for this greenfield development.

“There is too much housing development already proposed in the area, with the 200 houses proposed to the north of Birchwood Lane and on nearby land to the south at Lower Somercotes, where 200 houses are proposed on the rugby club site.”

Cllr Smith also stated that the area was “not suitable” for houses due to the nearby Cotes Park Industrial Estate and former mine shafts on the site.

Meanwhile, Somercotes Parish Council says that development would not be sustainable and feels that it would create an “unacceptable impact” on the junction of Birchwood Lane and the B600 Nottingham Road.

It also stated: “There is too much housing development already proposed in the area, with the 200 houses proposed to the north of Birchwood Lane.

“Current infrastructure and amenities are insufficient for the planned increase in housing.”

Derbyshire County Council also lodged its objections, stating that a “fundamental concern” was that the site was not well located in relation to the main built-up area of Somercotes and would form a “prominent intrusion” into the open countryside.

It also said: “These concerns are compounded by the fact that DCC, as highways authority, has also raised concerns about the highways impact implications of the proposed development, particularly that the proposed main vehicular access and emergency access arrangements are unsatisfactory and require further consideration.”

The county council requested that if the plans are approved, it would need £738,819 to provide 30 secondary places and 12 post-16 spots at Swanwick Hall School and to create extra teaching spaces.

In total, 28 members of the public submitted objections, largely relating to how “intrusive” the development would be; the surge in traffic which the extra housing would generate; and the compounding effect of other houses also being built in the area.

In response to the concerns, borough council planning officers said a blueprint for future development – which has not yet been implemented – has not yet demonstrated that there is a five-year housing supply.

They say that the current supply is 3.42 years and as such “there should be a presumption in favour of the development”.

As part of the scheme the authority has requested a contribution of £455.91 per house towards plans for the Riddings Park Project, which includes a BMX track and a multi-use games area.

Officers have also asked for £191.12 per house for grass sports improvements at Riddings Park.

Borough council officers, recommending approval, stated: “It is considered that the proposals would have significant economic and positive impacts in terms of the economic and social dimensions of sustainability and only a minor adverse impact on the environment through loss of greenfield land and therefore it is considered that there are no adverse impacts which significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the proposals.

“The development has not raised any significant issues in terms of highways impact, contamination, noise, trees, ecology, crime prevention, visual amenity, residential amenity, land stability, flooding, drainage or archaeology.”

The planning committee will make the final decision on Monday, June 18.

Eddie Bisknell , Local Democracy Reporting Service