Ripley still faces challenges

How the proposed Morrisons store would look from the front - as seen from Nottingham Road, Ripley.
How the proposed Morrisons store would look from the front - as seen from Nottingham Road, Ripley.

So Morrisons has been refused after all this time.

It was a surprise when the AVBC planning officers recommended it be refused – but why did it take so long for them to see the light?

But the challenges facing Ripley are still big ones.

The developer might still appeal the decision and Amber Valley Borough Council (AVBC) would have to decide if they are going to fight it or not, because the costs can be massive. But even without an appeal, the risks to Ripley right now have not been greatly reduced.

There are those who argue that another supermarket would be a good thing. But these people should remember that people will not come into the town centre from a new out-of-town supermarket - they should be able to see that people do not go into town from Sainsbury’s now, so why should it be different at another out-of-town supermarket?

At the same meeting when Morrisons was rejected, AVBC approved a housing scheme right next door even though many of the reasons for rejecting Morrisons apply equally to the housing site.

I don’t think anyone should be surprised by this as I believe AVBC has a record of applying double standards. But in my view approving the housing is really dangerous for Ripley because it means that houses can be built on land set aside in the past for a by-pass.

This is dangerous because it pre-empts the Planning Authority’s decision about the changed by-pass route as in the “Gateway” planning application (which is still to be decided.

It now becomes possible for AVBC officers to tell the Planning Authority that it should approve the master-plan for the proposed link road because the original route has been compromised by the approval of the housing at Nottingham Road. It’s not over yet and Ripley might still escape this mess.