Superstore plans revised after strong opposition

NRHNLM111102C1 - Protest: Residents of Amber Valley protest outside Ripley town hall
NRHNLM111102C1 - Protest: Residents of Amber Valley protest outside Ripley town hall

ReVISED plans for a multi-million pound Ripley supermarket were aired at November’s heated borough council meeting - in the wake of strong opposition to the proposals.

Hundreds of protesters angered at a pre-planning proposal bid by Clowes Westerman for a superstore on Greenwich playing fields, Nottingham Road, packed Ripley Market Place while councillors discussed the matter at Wednesday.

They carried placards begging Amber Valley Borough Council not to sell the recreation ground to developers.

At the meeting it was announced there would be changes to the plan given the strength of opposition, with the skate park to remain and a relief road to be built, although the store would still be built.

Ripley protestors were joined by people from around the borough, concerned about other green field areas in Amber Valley recently designated as ‘potential strategic housing’ sites by the Derby Housing Market Area Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment.

Co-organiser of the protest, in which 22,000 leaflets were delivered to borough residents, Gary Smith, 37, from Waingroves Road, Ripley, said: “If they carry on this way our kids are going to have nowhere to play. There’s going to be no fields and no parks.”

Earlier this year the land assessment group, which includes representatives from Amber Valley Borough Council, earmarked areas in Swanwick and Marehay as potential sites for 500 homes.

Joining the protest, George Soudah, 65, of High Street, Swanwick, said: “Swanwick will be joined up with Alfreton.”

Chants from outside could still be heard in the town hall chamber on Wednesday as councillors started the meeting shortly after 7pm.

Members of the public delivered heartfelt pleas to councillors to turn down the supermarket bid when a planning application is submitted.

Campaigner Sylvia Mason, 59, of Waingroves Road, tore up a copy of the plans in front of a filled public gallery to cheers.

But after the public speaking section, Conservative leader Cllr Stuart Bradford revealed amended plans for the ‘gateway’ scheme.

Revised proposals will see a 3.5-acre patch of land there owned by a charitable trust kept free from development, meaning the skate park there would not have to be moved.

A relief road would run from Butterley roundabout to Alfreton Road in Codnor, Cllr Bradford added, and the height and scale of the superstore would also be reduced.

Greenwich playing fields and sports facilities would also be retained and ‘enhanced to green flag status’, which Cllr Bradford said would provide a permanent home for the sports teams playing there.

This will go ahead, even if the supermarket bid is rejected, he added.