Fears development draft might lead to a business park

A DRAFT plan to turn farmland into a business park has sparked fears that it might damage the character of Belper.

Amber Valley Borough Council’s draft development brief, which acts a blueprint, says about Bullsmoor that the 19 acres of farming land off Kilbourne Road “offers the opportunity to develop a high quality business and industrial development”.

The site currently features trees and hedgerows and Pottery Farm, a Grade II listed building. It is partially visible from the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site and the Belper and Milford Conservation area.

Andrew Wilson, of Kilbourne Road, said: “Any development here would have a huge negative impact upon the character and landscape of Belper.

It is also galling that the monstrous empty former Focus ‘box’ remains a feature of the town and shows no signs of development. Surely a better plan would be to improve this blighted area? It would be better for the area if no further development were allowed and Belper’s green hills were preserved as much as possible.”

The brief, published last month, takes a Government Inspector’s dismissal of a bid to build at Hilltop farm into account.

It states that only development which “enhances employment opportunities without impacting on the setting of the heritage assets” will be allowed.

But Mr Wilson believes this would be “inadequate” as it might allow the land to be wholly industrialised with no concern for the landscape.