July date set for Gateway decision

A birds' eye view of how the Gateway scheme would look when completed on Nottingham Road, Ripley.
A birds' eye view of how the Gateway scheme would look when completed on Nottingham Road, Ripley.

Multi million pound development plans for Ripley are set to come before planning board members in July, council officers have revealed.

But there will be yet another round of consultation on Clowes Westerman’s bid for a Morrisons store, new park facilities and around 125 houses at Nottingham Road – before it is considered for approval by the Amber Valley Borough Council committee.

The authority’s assistant director of planning and regeneration Derek Stafford, said the reason for an extra round of consultation was due to a strong response from Ripley folk – who have raised issues with traffic, town centre trade and the loss of open space.

Mr Stafford said: “Following responses to the December consultation and the various issues raised, the Council has now asked the applicant, Clowes Westerman, to submit a range of further information in relation to the applications.

“The Council has now received this further information and has published it for consultation.

“Any comments on the further information should be made by June 14.”

The authority says it has contacted, in writing, all those previously consulted on the applications and those who have responded to the December consultation, which was held over two days at the Moss Cottage pub on Nottingham Road.

Clowes Westerman has not amended the plans as a result of previous consultations however – but it has provided further information about the proposals via the Amber Valley Borough Council website.

New documents added to the site include further details on how developers intend to cap off mineshafts on the proposed building sites, and information about retail studies conducted before the plan was submitted among others.

The council is to determine two separate planning applications at the planning board meeting on Monday, July 15.

One application is for both the store and the new recreational facilities – and the other for the 125 homes.

The amended Gateway plans and extra consultation comes two months after the News provided the council with a 20-page dossier of your concerns on the Morrisons build.

It featured a host of your comments and letters along with the results of our online poll, which saw Ripley folk deliver a resounding NO vote against the plans.

When the News spoke to Mr Stafford this week, he said comments made by News readers have been taken into account.

He said: “We have to treat the dossier and poll as separate to anything we do.

“But it reflects the fact that there are number of issues that needed to be addressed.”

He went on to say: “There are obviously a series of issues raised on the impact on the town centre.

“There’s obvious concerns about traffic and the environmental impact of the store.

“The impact of housing and the demand that places on traffic movements and obviously the concern of the loss of existing open space.

“I think the best way to look at this now is that we have now gone back to the applicant and made them aware of all the public responses.

“That gives them the opportunity to see if they can come up with some revised proposals.”

If planning permission is granted to Clowes Westerman for the store and housing, the council says it will help fund a new link road between the Butterley roundabout and Alfreton Road in Codnor.

But a village green application lodged by Ripley Town Council still exists on the Nottingham Road recreation ground.

Newly elected town councillor for the Ripley North ward Roland Emmas Williams, who helped start a 2,338 name petition against the scheme said: “A lot of this relies on the village green application. If the inspector rules in favour of the town council - to me the Morrisons plan is straight out the window.”