Next step in council’s leisure centre proposal

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A PLANNING application has been submitted in the next stage of Amber Valley Borough Council’s plans for a new £11.5 million leisure centre in Belper.

The application concerns the piece of land off Field Lane in the town that would be home to the new facility.

Landmark Cannon, the firm behind the proposed centre, has applied for a change of use of land and the removal of trees.

The application says this would create a temporary public car park until February, 2013.

The land is adjacent to the council car park on Field Lane.

A decision is due to be made by next month.

At the beginning of last month, The News reported that the council had paid £1.136 million to buy land designated for the centre.

The 0.8-acre plot, between Ada Bellfield House care home and the Mulberry Bush Day Nursery, was home to a house.

That property has been demolished by the council.

A spokesman for the authority said: “We took the property down. Once the trees have been taken down, we can extend the car park for the public.

“It might even have a coach park on it.”

The purchase of the land means the council now has 2.1 acres of land on which to fit a leisure centre.

The spokesman said that once the car park has been extended, the council can concentrate on sourcing funding for the building of the leisure centre.

“It is a step-by-step process,” he added. “The main issue is getting the site cleared and the car park extended for the public to use.”

A possible new leisure centre has not been a popular choice for many people in Belper, with concerns expressed over the size of the site, loss of parking and a possible increase in traffic.

Last month Roger Shelley, chairman of the Belper Civic Forum, questioned the suitability of the site. He said: “There will be extra traffic on already crowded streets.”

The spokesman said the land was deceptive and the plot was large enough.