The future development of Ripley will be on the ballot paper next Thursday when the town votes in a referendum on whether or not to accept the town council’s new neighbourhood plan.
With a market dating back to 1251, Ripley is a Derbyshire town with a rich history of industry, mining and textiles.
The neighbourhood plan is a vision for how Ripley will develop over the next 13 years and would place strict controls on development in the town, limiting building projects to certain areas and protecting others.
It came about because the town council was disappointed that Amber Valley’s new local plan was talking too long and it left the town unprotected from unwanted development.
Steve Freeborn, leader of Ripley Town Council, said: “The plan is important because it is simply about Ripley people making decisions for Ripley’s future.
“It is much better Ripley people decide where houses and so on can be built rather than people from outside who do not understand the situation.
“There has been disquiet at the situation with Amber Valley’s core strategy which means that development can take place on the green belt and this will stop that.”
Mr Freeborn said he thought turnout would be around 25% and that he was hopeful the plan’s triple aims of controlling development, conserving the area’s heritage and creating a vibrant economy would secure a yes vote.
The plan has taken four years to get to this stage and is the work of professional advisers, volunteers who took part in forums to help draft it and Ripley residents who shared their opinions with the council.
We hit the streets of Ripley to find out what residents thought about the plan.
Ella Frith, of Laurel Avenue, said: “I had not heard about it until now but now I know about it I will be voting because I think it’s important people have a say.”
And Alison Riddell, of Peasehill, added: “I am planning to vote and I do think that it is important that people in Ripley have a say on the kind of development that happens in their area.”
However, Cyril Hallsworth, of Derby Road, said: “I don’t think it is very clear what it is about.
“I would like more information about what we are voting on. I am planning to vote because I am interested in the planning process but it is not very clear what kind of developments we are talking about.”
And Mikaela Ashford, of High Street, said: “I’m not planning to vote because I haven’t heard about it but I think it depends on what kind of development is proposed as to whether or not it should be accepted - it should be a case by case basis.”
Copies of the plan can be viewed at Amber Valley Borough Council or the Ripley Town Council websites.
You can also go and see copies of all the documents at the Ripley Market Place council offices, the Library, or the Leisure Centre.