Tensions flared as plans for housing developments and a relief road from Ripley to Woodlinkin went on show at a public exhibition.
DLP planning consultants displayed revised maps a potential 442 homes in Ripley and 600 in Codnor linked by a relief road – designed to ease the traffic burden on the already stressed A610 through Ripley – and provide access points to the new houses.
But many left the Moss Cottage pub on Nottingham Road on Wednesday feeling more information was needed on the traffic impact of such builds – fearing the new road will offer little in the way of traffic relief.
Chairman of Codnor Parish Council Peter Smith, said at the event: “I think Amber Valley (Borough Council) should have completed a traffic impact assessment before proposing this relief road.
“People of Codnor have wanted a bypass for years - but we wanted a bypass, not a ‘relief road’.”
DLP Planning consultants say the traffic assessments are currently being undertaken and could be ready in time for the next consultation on Wednesday, June 26.
But folk the News spoke to said this information should have been made available sooner - with the plans for the whole of the Gateway Scheme, including the Morrisons store and extended recreation ground , set to go before the planning board on July 14.
DLP’s Jim Lomas said those comments have been taken into account.
After feedback gathered at a previous consultation in December, Mr Lomas explained revised plans now show the relief road will skirt further to the north of Codnor Gate Industrial Estate to allow for firm Manthorpe Engineering to extend its site.
A 12 acre ‘commercial space’ for businesses has also been added to the plans.
The number of proposed access points from the new road to the housing development earmarked for the east of Alfreton Road, Codnor has been reduced from four to three - to ‘improve traffic flow’ Mr Lomas said.
After fears were that plans for a new recreation ground at Nottingham Road had not previously featured a cricket pitch - space for one has also been added.
Mr Lomas said that the increased number of homes now proposed is only an ‘indicative worst case scenario’.
“We have had to use these figures so that we can carry out the transport modelling assessment based on a higher density of housing,” he added.
Ultimately however, the relief road would be paid for via the sale of Amber Valley owned land to Morrisons on Nottingham Road and a roof tax raised by the proposed new houses.
But leader of Amber Valley Borough Council Cllr Stuart Bradford, at one point confronted by angry members of the public, again denied the Morrisons sale was being ‘railroaded’ through to pay for other parts of the scheme. But he did say the relief road would never be completed without private investment.
“We all know there’s no public money available for big projects, he said. “The only way forward is to use developer funding to make public realm improvements, in my opinion.”
“At the end of the day there’s a silent majority in favour of the plans and we will see.”