Borough unveils sites earmarked for housing development

NRHNBE111220b1, Ripley town hall.
NRHNBE111220b1, Ripley town hall.

In December 2015 Amber Valley Borough Council withdrew its local plan for housing development in the area to meet Government housing targets.

Council chiefs expressed disappointment at the time that after many years and considerable debate about potential housing development sites it could no longer be confident developers would deliver the previously predicted number of houses within the following five years on the sites proposed.

Amber Valley Borough Council has now published details of sites for inclusion in a new draft local plan, which will go to public consultation later this month with a view to having an up-to-date local plan in place by March 2018.

The council has to provide enough land for development to accommodate 9,770 homes by 2028 and a five-year housing supply of 3,065 homes between now and 2022.

Council leader Kevin Buttery told a full council meeting and vote on the new sites put forward for development on March 1 that the purpose of the vote was to start a consultation process.

He said: “Ultimately, if we do not have a local plan developers will find it easier to get planning permission for plans that might not otherwise have been approved, leaving the Amber Valley exposed. That, in my view, would be the worse outcome of all.

Sites put forward to be included in the draft local plan are as follows:

- Greenhill Lane, Leabrooks 58

- Cotes Park, Birchwood Lane, Somercotes 210

- Amber Valley Rugby Club, Lower Somercotes, Somercotes 200

- Somercotes Hill, Somercotes 180

- Leafy Lane, Heanor 12

- Newlands-Taylor Lane, Heanor 500

- Thorpes Road, Heanor 35

- Whysall Street, Heanor 76

- Hall Road, Langley Mill 80

- Asher Lane Business Park (North), Ripley 85

- Asher Lane Business Park (South), Ripley 92

- Butterley Hill, Ripley 100

- Moseley Street, Ripley 10

- Nottingham Road/Codnor Gate, Ripley 50

- Alfreton Road, Codnor 30

- Wessington Lane, South Wingfield 40

A fair proportion of the above sites are classed as countryside sites, while some lie within areas of multiple environmental sensitivity.

Amber Valley’s local plan policies state that building on countryside and greenbelt will only be allowed where special circumstances are demonstrated, such as a lack of affordable housing in the area.

Councillor Chris Emmas-Williams, member for Codnor and Waingroves, said the council’s failure to go ahead with sites already in the local plan two years ago had resulted in the borough being left at the mercy of developers submitting speculative plans.

He added: “Because we do not have a five-year supply of housing the developers are able to appeal when their plans are rejected.

“I have always been against any development on greenbelt and countryside but the Government inspector has gone to great pains to make it clear what the special circumstances to build on them are.

“It’s fine wanting to leave them out of the plan but you have to come up with an alternative.”

Councillor Roland Emmas-Williams, member for Ripley, said: “What we do not understand as town councillors is why did we bother putting Ripley neighbourhood plan together because it just doesn’t carry any weight.

“The idea was for local people to have their say about their area but it just seems to have been totally ignored - the sites the council has put forward are not in the neighbourhood plan so should not be submitted.”

Coun Emmas-Williams said the inclusion of the Butterley Hill and Moseley Street sites in Ripley had left him dumbfounded.

He added: “We are trying to preserve historic buildings at the Butterley site - I just do not understand where officers are coming from with these two inclusions.”

Council leader Kevin Buttery said the sites proposed had not yet been through detailed planning examinations and that the conclusions drawn by those examinations would have an impact on the suitability of the sites.

Amber Valley Borough Council’s draft local plan will be available for public consultation later this month.