Belper MP Pauline Latham has expressed her “extreme disappointment” after Tesco submitted plans to build more than 100 houses in Belper.
Her remarks came as it was revealed that money set aside for a new Belper library, which many residents thought should be part of Tesco’s plans had been ‘siphoned off’, she claimed, to help re-locate Heanor Library.
This week, Tesco property consultants, Spenhill Developments Ltd, submitted plans to Amber Valley Boropugh Council for 107 houses on the Meadows Edge site, off Derwent Street in Belper.
The plans come after Mrs Latham brokered a series of talks between Tesco, which owns the site, local residents, business owners, and the charity Transition Belper, to encourage the company to sell the land for mixed use.
Despite the support of local stakeholders for a genuinely mixed use development, Tesco has now decided to allocate its first phase for residential use.
Meanwhile, MP Pauline Latham has claimed in a column for this week’s Belper News (See page 10) that Derbyshire County Council’s ruling Labour administration are no longer interested in contributing £1.5million to the building of a new Belper Library and has ‘siphoned off’ £250,000 of that money for the relocation of Heanor’s library. The building there is closed because it is unsafe and a new one is set to be built
Mrs Latham said:“It is extremely disappointing that in spite of attending a number of meetings with local stakeholders in which it was indicated that a mixed use development was preferable, Tesco have decided to stick with their original plan to sell it for residential use.
“Given the impact that this development will have on Belper as a whole, I think it is vital that all interested parties should have an opportunity to air their views on the application with the council.”
Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor Dave Allen said: “I agree with Mrs Latham that libraries play a key role in communities and this is shown by our commitment to projects such as the rebuilding of our Heanor branch.
“We are also committed to our plans for a new Belper Library and it is not true that the funding has been ‘siphoned off’ in favour of the Heanor project.
“It was the county council’s Labour administration that approved £1.7m Belper Library funding in its 2004/2005 budget – not the Conservatives as Mrs Latham reports – and our view has not changed. We remain committed to that pledge and are currently building it into our 2015/2016 budget plans.”
“The county council is facing unprecedented budget pressures and needs to cut £157m by 2018 – but the message is loud and clear that we are still very much open for business.
“We have robust plans in place which allow us to deal with challenging circumstances, such as an urgent rebuilding project, while also doing our best to keep the commitments we’ve made to the residents of Belper and the rest of the county.”