Anthrax fears to be probed

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Fears that possible anthrax spores could be awakened if a proposed development for 450 houses in Belper is given the go-ahead, are to be investigated.

The potentially deadly disease was found in cattle in the 1960s near the Bullsmoor and Pottery Farm sites off Kilbourne Road, which are being suggested as a potential development area by Amber Valley Borough Council.

Affected animals were buried somewhere on the site claims Dr John Morrisey, from the Amber Valley Rambers’ Club who is urging councillors to take it into consideration before making any judgments on the homes site proposals.

The sites will be debated at a meeting of the council on September 17.

Dr Morrisey claimed: “People recalled an outbreak of anthrax in the area, which could have taken place in about 1963.

“These spores can survive for centuries. Probably the people in danger would be those building the houses.

“It’s a real concern and we don’t know where the carcasses are buried.”

Anthrax is an acute, and generally fatal, disease caused by a germ known as the bacillus anthracis. Human beings and all species of animals can contract it. Outbreaks peaked in the 1950s and 1960s in Britain.

Derek Stafford, the council’s assistant director for planning and regeneration said: “Clearly this is quite a serious concern that has been raised and we need to investigate the position very carefully before we make a decision.”

“We will be looking at all the matters people have raised during the consultation.”

The consultation on the proposals contained in the council’s core strategy, which would act as development blueprint once approved ended on Monday, September 8. Hundreds of people are thought to have responded in Belper. Dr Morrisey also said concerns remained there will not be not be enough seating at the meeting on September 17.

When the core strategy was discussed in July last year protestors goaded councillors with klaxons and a loudspeaker outside Ripley Town Hall.

At an extraordinary meeting of Belper Town Council on Tuesday, September 2, members of the authority promised to ask the borough council to stage next week’s meeting in an alternative venue.

Representatives from developer Marrons Planning also met with the public at Belper School the following day when they unveiled their vision for Bullsmoor and Pottery Farm.