Campaigners meet tonight in village

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to stop an area of Swanwick green belt from being targeted by developers are urging villagers to attend a crisis meeting tonight.

A huge area of land to the south of South Street and Minster Way in the village has the potential to become 500 homes.

The land between Swanwick and the Butterley reservoir was outlined as a possible building spot at a series of Have Your Say meetings across the borough in June and July.

Now campaigners claim to have sent 3,000 leaflets out to homes in the village, letting them know about tonight’s meeting at the Swanwick Centenary Centre on Chapel Street, starting at 6.30pm.

Protestor, Graham Calladine, 50, from Derby Road, plans to attend the meeting organised by Swanwick Parish Council.

He said: “You cannot afford to be apathetic about this, you need to get involved yourself. If everyone thought, well, someone else will do something about it, then before you know it 500 homes will be built behind your back garden.”

Another concerned Derby Road resident, David Proctor, 57, said: “Swanwick for the last 20 years has had continual housing growth, there’s not much green space left, the only places left separate the village from the towns.

“If the fields identified are built upon it will take away that village feel that Swanwick has - it will become just one big town with Ripley.”

The Have Your Say meetings asked residents in the Ripley and Heanor area to comment on which areas of land would be best used for housing in the coming years.

They were organised by Amber Valley borough Council and neighbouring authorities and asked attendants to give their thoughts on 12 possible sites in the borough.

Campaign organiser John Briggs, of Derby Road, said villagers were further afraid that the recent government proposed Draft National Planning Policy could make it easier to build on green belt land.

This week Fiona Reynolds, director-general of the National Trust, said the Government’s plans, which could see planning laws on green belt land relaxed, are a ‘huge risk to our countryside.’

However the Government has responded by saying the measures are necessary to increase housebuilding for future generations.