Codnor residents say they are opposed to plans to turn part of the Green Belt into a pitching site for Travellers, but Amber Valley council says it has been left with no alternative.
Land to the north of Alfreton Road, near the High Holborn Road junction, is one of several Green Belt areas due to be reclassified for housing use under the new Local Plan.
Opposition has arisen from neighbours at most sites and Alfreton Road is no different, although the council is proposing to use the field to meet its legal obligations to Traveller and gypsy families rather than housing development.
Philip Bates, who lives minutes away from the site, said: “We’ve had a residents’ meeting and people are not happy about the use of Green Belt when we believe brownfield sites have been ignored at Wingfield Manor and the Codnor Park Industrial Estate.
“It just doesn’t make a great deal of sense. There are no special circumstances to justify the use of Green Belt.
“It feels like this has been voted through willy-nilly by the Conservative councillors without proper consultation, unless you know your way around the planning system.”
He added: “I appreciate that Travellers have to live somewhere, but we think there could be more appropriate sites for them.
“Invariably they want to run businesses with lots of activity and light goods vehicles, adding to the traffic. It’s in such a prominent position too. If anyone applied to put houses there I’m pretty sure it would be rejected.”
A spokesman for Amber Valley council said: “The two brownfield sites referred to are both owned by Derbyshire County Council, have been considered, and we have not been able to identify either as being suitable.
“The borough council has therefore had to reconsider Green Belt land within its ownership. Alfreton Road is thought the more suitable of two possible sites, the other being at Lee Lane in Heanor, and has therefore been proposed.”
The Local Plan changes are open to comments until 4.30pm on Thursday, May 2. Go to https://bit.ly/2IYlvBf.