Campaigners want cottage plans in Belper revoked

Belper residents say a cottage extension at Hillside Rise, Belper, pictured, came as a shock.
Belper residents say a cottage extension at Hillside Rise, Belper, pictured, came as a shock.

Furious residents claim council bosses have approved and allowed a cottage extension in Belper before properly consulting concerned neighbours for their views.

Greg Turner-Smart, 35, of Hillside Rise, and others complained to Amber Valley Borough Council that the first they knew about the extension was three weeks after it had been approved.

Mr Turner-Smart claims there was no widespread correspondence, that a warning notice was not seen because it was reported to have been on a lamppost where a previous application had been, and no one can recall a public notice in the press.

He said: “The property being developed is right in front of us. We feel the council failed to publicise the application properly. It had been approved three weeks by the time we knew anything. Our objections have not been properly considered because we weren’t allowed time to complain as part of a consultation.”

Residents have submitted objections retrospectively and those on a petition stated they were not aware of any related lamppost notice.

Those with concerns have complained the development creates a loss of privacy and light, blocks a view of the Derwent Valley Mills heritage site and it does not fit the area’s character.

But despite a complaint and an appeal, protesters have been told it is too late for objections and external building work on the property is now near completion.

Mid Derbyshire MP Pauline Latham has been made aware of the situation and has been urged to write to the council to revoke the application and begin the process again.

Engineer Mr Turner-Smart added: “We don’t want compensation, we just want the process to be done properly. We are confident if it’s done properly the development would not have been allowed in the way it has. But the council claims it has done the minimum required by the law.”

Concerned residents are submitting a complaint to the Local Ombudsman and they have been advised they could pursue a further costly court appeal.

Council assistant planning director Derek Stafford said: “The council received and responded to a complaint by Mr Turner-Smart.

“Mr Turner-Smart has been advised he can refer his complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman, should he not be satisfied with the council’s response.

“The council is aware he has followed this course of action and the Ombudsman is considering the matter.”