Green light for controversial 30 homes development near Belper

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Approval has been granted for 30 houses on the current employee car park opposite the Firs Works site near Nether Heage.

As part of the plans, put forward to Amber Valley Borough Council, Garner Holdings has elected to build 30 houses off Spanker Lane, on a 193-space car park.

The firm will also demolish part of a large, and vacant, storage building on the Firs Works site to make way for a replacement 195-space car park.

A neighbouring property, called Fair Lawn, would be demolished to make way for the new houses – nine of which would be affordable housing.

At a meeting of the planning board on Monday, councillors chose to approve the application.

Ahead of the meeting, residents sent in 23 objection letters, mainly centred on traffic fears. There are also concerns that the housing estate, which would be sited less than a mile from the grade-II listed Heage Windmill, is ‘out of character’ for the area.

Ward member, Councillor Valerie Taylor, said councillors on the planning board ‘would vote for Christmas if they were turkeys’.

She felt that roads in the area were too narrow for further development and that there were already recurring flooding issues in the nearby Malthouse Lane.

Jonathan Jenkin, on behalf of the applicants, said: “This is a brownfield site and would not have any impact on the rural area and the applicant has agreed payments for education and for the refurbishment of the Nether Heage Recreation Ground as part of the application, along with nine affordable dwellings on the site.”

A resident near the site, Niall Clark, said: “I pass the current car park every day and it is only ever 40 per cent full, so the alleged reduction in traffic as a result will not be realised.”

Councillor Paul Hillier, Conservative, said: “I have some sympathy with members of the public about the site, but I struggle to see how there would be more traffic.”

Councillor Ron Ashton, Conservative, said: “I do sympathise with people on the traffic issue, but it is not a material planning consideration here, as there is no objection from highways, so I am afraid I am going to have to propose that we accept officers’ recommendations.”

The homes will be a mix of two and three-bedroom properties. In its original planning statement, Garner Holdings said: “We believe that the development of 30 dwellings would contribute to building a strong, responsive and competitive economy through the creation of construction and related jobs and the on-going contribution to the local economy.“