New plans submitted for Crich Lane housing development

Land off Crich Lane Belper where an application for 185 houses has been made
Land off Crich Lane Belper where an application for 185 houses has been made
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Plans to build 185 new homes on green belt land north of Belper have been submitted for consideration by Amber Valley Borough Council.

The applicant, listed as C and K Balls of Ambergate, is seeking permission to build the development on land between Crich Lane and Far Laund, together with associated infrastructure works.

The proposals appear speculative, with many details still to be agreed. As an indication of scale, the plans include provision for 385 parking spaces over 10.6 hectares.

The council has also received a number of objections to the plans from local residents.

Borough councillor Joe Booth, also a town councillor representing the Belper North ward, has previously led efforts to block developments on the site and said he expects the new plans to fail.

He said: “It’s not 100 per cent certain, but I understand that to be granted permission the developer would have to demonstrate exceptional circumstances, and there are none.

“It’s green belt land, it’s within the World Heritage Site buffer zone, and it’s designated as a landscape of special interest.”

The majority of the proposed development would be made up of housing with at least four bedrooms, with 55 properties being designated as affordable.

The plans will first be considered by council planning officers. Were they to recommend approval, Coun Booth said he would seek a formal review.

Planning officers are expected to return their initial decision in June.

Although he was speaking in a personal capacity, the town council will discuss the matter.

However any representations to the borough planning authority will carry no more weight than an individual resident’s comments.

He added: “The hill is visible from every corner of town, but it’s important to concentrate on material problems, not the more sympathetic ones such as spoiled views.

“For example, a development this size might be home to 300 children. We already have families sent to school in Crich or Denby because the schools in Belper are full.”

While Coun Booth acknowledges the national housing shortage, he is keen to ensure that any development does not threaten the historic character of the town and its surroundings.

He said: “The worrying thing is that developers can appeal, and then it’s taken out of our hands.

“I think Belper’s done its bit. Having said that, there is already permission for 5,000 homes in Amber Valley, and developers are just sitting on the land.”

To view the plans in full, visit http://bit.ly/2nrOHSJ.