Ripley councillor Steve Freeborn has described Amber Valley Borough Council’s decision to withdraw from the core strategy as ‘embarrassing’.
The councillor for Ripley East and Codnor said the consequences of this action could see the council hit with expense claims and developers having free reign over land.
He said: “Amber Valley Borough Council is likely to be hit with claims for expenses from all those developers – and there are several– who have hired planning consultants and advisors during the hearing held last week. They would have already taken part in a large amount of preparation.
“It could also mean developers will now be able to build pretty much anywhere they like in the borough – including at Kedleston and Belper, but excluding Ripley and Idridgeway which each have a Neighbourhood Plan in place.
“For the council to do this is very embarrassing for the majority group, but also officers.”
Amber Valley Borough Council expressed regret at having to withdraw its core strategy from the public examination that was due to resume last week.
The council had believed that after many years, and considerable public consultation and heated debate about potential housing development sites, it was finally in a position to secure formal adoption of the core strategy.
The reason for the withdrawal is that, following discussions with relevant housing developers in the last two weeks, the council can no longer be confident that developers will deliver the previously predicted number of houses within the next five years on the sites proposed by the council.
Council leader Councillor Alan Cox said: “I am deeply dismayed that such a decision had to be made at the 11th hour, after so much effort and expenditure on the process by so many.”