Inquiry into Codnor homes bid

Residents and councillors attend the first day of a three day planning inquiry at Ripley Town Hall into a Peveril Homes bid to build at Codnor.
Residents and councillors attend the first day of a three day planning inquiry at Ripley Town Hall into a Peveril Homes bid to build at Codnor.

A planning inquiry is taking place to decide if a controversial plan for 79 houses in Codnor can be built .

Peveril Homes’ application for outline planning permission to build on land west of Holborn View near Codnor Common has already been turned down twice by Amber Valley Borough Council, with the Belper firm now appealing to a Government planning inspector to overturn the decision.

Inspector Stuart Nixon told members of the public at the inquiry at Ripley Town Hall on Tuesday that the main issue to be decided was whether other factors outweighed National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) rules, which presume in favour of sustainable housing where no five-year housing supply can be demonstrated.

Andrew Williamson, for Peveril, told the inquiry: “The proposals represent sustainable development and are consistent with core planning principals... They will make a contribution to local housing and the authority’s five-year housing supply... They will preserve the open break and create new open space and not give rise to any material harms of the landscape.”

Andrew Hogan, for Amber Valley, said the council had refused the scheme because it conflicted with its emerging Local Plan, and planning policies.

Tamsin Cottle, a town and country planner giving evidence for the council, said a May 2013 inquiry upheld a bid to build 98 homes in nearby Waingroves, but the inspector recognised that Codnor Common provides ‘visual relief’ and deemed the land worthy of protection, although it was not designated as Greenbelt. The dangers of a ‘potential coalescence’ of Ripley, Waingroves and Codnor were highlighted. She questioned Peveril’s claim that the scheme would create jobs and said the location would exceed the 800-metre walking distances to local facilities that characterised good quality social developments.

Mr Williamson said Peveril’s head office was based in Belper and was therefore a local employer. He said the council had not stipulated any local jobs and that the scheme’s affordable housing element had the backing of local housing associations.

Mr Nixon asked residents, who attended the hearing to oppose the scheme, why Codnor should be identified as a separate settlement? He was told Codnor had football and cricket teams, three churches, a parish council, a doctors’ surgery, a school, and a range of shops.

Resident Richard Tadman suggested Mr Nixon visit the site when children are leaving school. He said: “You will be frightened by the volume of traffic.”

Cllr Steve Freeborn, leader of Ripley Town Council, said Ripley’s Neighbourhood Plan - a work in progress - offered 1,600 potential sites for houses and would designate Codnor Common as a local green space. The inquiry was due to finish today, Thursday, October 24.