Protest to halt house build ‘bias’

Placards placed outside of Ripley Town Hall showed the strength of feeling against future housing proposals for Ripley and Codnor.
Placards placed outside of Ripley Town Hall showed the strength of feeling against future housing proposals for Ripley and Codnor.

Protestors goaded councillors with klaxons and a loudspeaker outside Ripley Town Hall over what were dubbed ‘biased’ proposals to site thousands of new homes in the east of the borough.

Last week Amber Valley Borough Council published proposals for its Core Strategy online with the aim of gathering feedback from the public.

The document outlines key areas to be designated for business and housing development in the borough for the next 25 years.

The authority says the strategy will eventually ‘establish the vision, objectives and proposals for what sort of place we want Amber Valley to be by 2028’.

Seven preferred ‘strategic sites’ for new homes have been identified, covering 540 acres.

But despite vocal protests over the past year - almost all of the land earmarked for homes is concentrated in green parts of Ripley, Heanor, Codnor and Alfreton.

Steve Atkinson, of Dakins Row, Codnor, was one of around 60 at the protest outside Wednesday’s full council meeting - to make his feelings know about the 1,000 new homes earmarked for Ripley and Codnor by 2028.

He said: “I’m here to because I am opposed to development on our green space.

“There is no justification for these builds, they have not shown the area can sustain this level of development .”

He added: “Where are those children going to go to school? And what about policing, health-care and recreational space?”

Mr Atkinson later staged a 90 second silence during public speaking of the meeting for councillors to ‘reflect’ on the impact of lost green fields.

Laura Miller of Nottingham Road, Codnor, only moved to the area three months ago. She was at the protest because of fears for her eight week-old son Archie attaining a school place in the future.

“We could have an extra 4,000 people living here with all these houses,” she said. “We’re worried about the schools being over-crowded or having to travel long distances just to get to one. People will move out of the area because of this.”

During the meeting Labour Codnor councillor Chris Emmas-Williams said the new homes would “crucify us,” calling for a rigorous assessment of how the surrounding transport system would cope.

Conservative leader of the council Cllr Stuart Bradford responded saying: “I can support the thrust of his argument in that the right infrastructure needs to be there.” He said this would be dealt with in due course as a ‘planning matter’ by “consultants, the planners and those with expertise.”

Belper councillor Alan Cox said the Core Strategy is still out to consultation and “nothing is set in stone yet.”

The document is available to view at Ripley Town Hall, Alfreton Library and at www.ambervalley.gov.uk. Comments can be made online or by post to: The Community Planning Team, Amber Valley Borough Council, P.O. Box 18, Town Hall, Ripley, DE5 3SZ, to arrive by no later than 4.30pm on Friday, August 23. Officers will be available to answer questions, from 3pm to 7pm, on Thursday, July 18, at Wilmot Street Community Centre, Heanor.