Hazelwood conference centre plan approved

Protesters against the Lubrizol development in Hazelwood at the Amber Valley Planning Board meeting on Monday June 13.
Protesters against the Lubrizol development in Hazelwood at the Amber Valley Planning Board meeting on Monday June 13.
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Campaigners against controversial plans by a multi-national corporation to build a new training and conference centre say they are ‘disappointed’ that the development has been approved.

The plans, by American chemical firm Lubrizol, make provision for the demolition, conversion and extension of barns at Hillside Farm, Nether Lane, Hazelwood, near Belper.

They were approved at a meeting of Amber Valley Borough Council’s Planning Board on Monday night by eight votes to five.

Keith Walker, from Hazelwood Parish Council, said: “We are disappointed but not surprised, but we think planning law has been treated badly.

“Lubrizol has been a parishioner for us for 70 years - it is a huge operation.

“The relationship has gone wrong in recent times sadly but both sides are looking for the way forward so we can deal with development in the future - I am convinced of that.

“Our real concern about this application is that it established a bridgehead up to the north and in theory the company could just develop downhill and just hit a massive green space.

“I am convinced they are taking our alternative proposal seriously and they have undertaken to give us a design report in the first week of July, but this application was quite simply the wrong thing to do. It looks wrong, it seems wrong and it is wrong.”

A well as Mr Walker, four other residents voiced their objections to the plan, who were in turn backed up by dozens of protesters.

The proposal had also been objected to by a petition which attracted over 100 signatures.

Planning officers stated that environmental concerns raised by the objectors about development in the countryside needed to be balanced against the requirement in the national planning policy framework to support economic growth in rural areas.

They also said that only limited weight could be given to the Hazelwood Neighbourhood Plan as it was still ‘emerging’.

A spokesperson for the company said that the development had been kept low, was not overbearing and would create an additional 50 ‘well-paid jobs’.