I would assure your correspondent that the Mayor of Belper is quite aware of the impact of any housing build in and around Belper. He is not at all blinkered because he understands full well that thousands of houses need to be built in Amber Valley over the next 15 years.
Although the councillors and residents do not have much say over the number of houses (as these are determined from official population projections) we do have some say, at the moment, over the location of these houses. The borough council is examining all the possible Brownfield sites but these will not make much of a dent in the total requirement. The borough council are therefore looking at 16 strategic sites across the borough which have been suggested by land owners and developers. Two of these sites are in Belper: one being at Bullsmoor (in the World Heritage Site buffer zone); and the other being land off Nailers Way towards Heage, which is in the Greenbelt.
Once the public consultation has finished and the councillors have made their decision an inspector will be appointed from Bristol to make the final decision. It was almost certain that one of the two sites in Belper would be picked to take a large chunk of the borough’s housing requirement for the next 15 years. However, the borough then received a late suggestion that it look at a new settlement on the Cinderhill site, which would not only have houses but also shops, schools, medical facilities and new road links. It is probable that if this site is chosen then neither the Bullsmoor nor the Nailers Way site would be needed.
This is virtually the last chance that the residents of Belper will have to make their views known on where large numbers of new houses should be built over the next 15 years. It is no use waiting for the planning applications to come in and then complaining. It will be too late because the inspector will make his decision and the principle of where development is to take place will have been decided.
So you have two choices: if you don’t want development on Bullsmoor or Nailers Way then contact the borough council and push the case for Cinderhill.; however, if you wish houses to be built on Bullsmoor or Nailers Way with the effects on the existing roads, schools, medical facilities, etc then contact the borough council and say so. I urge all residents to make their views known to the borough council. This will mean that their views will be taken into account when decisions are made. Writing to the press may be useful in letting others know your views but this will not get them taken into account by councillors or by the Bristol-appointed inspector.
The plain fact of the matter is that there are going to thousands of houses built in Amber Valley over the next 15 years – anyone who thinks otherwise is blinkered. We still have a chance to influence where these houses are to built. Take this chance now because very soon the chance will be gone for ever.
Cllr Alan Cox
Mayor of Belper.