Councillors unite to defeat Belper housing plan

Bullsmoor in Belper, the proposed site 150 homes.
Bullsmoor in Belper, the proposed site 150 homes.

Councillors have unanimously rejected a proposal to build 150 homes on the green field Bullsmoor site in Belper.

The joint application - from Belper-based Peveril Homes and Vaillant UK - would have allowed for the expansion of the heating firm’s Nottingham Road plant and a housing development behind it.

A bridleway that runs across the top of the planned development site.

A bridleway that runs across the top of the planned development site.

Amber Valley Borough Council’s planning officers had recommended the application be approved - but councillors decided the area’s unique heritage was too important.

At the end of a long planning meeting on Monday night in Ripley, members of the public applauded the decision.

However, minds afterwards were already turning to a possible appeal on behalf of the developers - and further fights to come.

Campaigner Wendy Baldwin, who lives on Kilbourne Road, said: “I am so pleased that they have actually thrown it out. It was great to see Conservative and Labour working together rather than against each other.

It was great to see Conservative and Labour working together rather than against each other.

Wendy Baldwin

Many objections focused on the development’s impact on the nearby Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site and conservation area, as well as the Grade II-listed Pottery Farm on its eastern edge.

However, others said the proposal would also lead to more traffic than the area could cope with and would further overstretch already struggling public services.

As well as all the councillors, the development was opposed by Historic England, the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, Derbyshire County Council and even Amber Valley Borough Council’s own conservation officer.

Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate Pauline Latham also spoke out against the proposal, saying she believed the development would be ‘detrimental’ to both the town and its residents.

The Vaillant site in Belper, pictured is where the access road will be.

The Vaillant site in Belper, pictured is where the access road will be.

Councillors form a united front against ‘harmful’ development

In a rare outbreak of unanimity, councillors of all political persuasions came together to oppose the application.

Belper councillor Dan Booth said the whole community was against the development.

He said: “It is about time we stood up to protect one of the last little strips of our heritage we have left.”

Land to the rear of the Vaillant factory in Belper, on which a housing plan and factory extention has been submitted.

Land to the rear of the Vaillant factory in Belper, on which a housing plan and factory extention has been submitted.

And councillor Ben Bellamy, also of Belper, said he felt that not enough was being mentioned about the economic value of the World Heritage Site to Belper.

He said: “The economic value of this area’s unique heritage is massive.

“I believe we are in danger of throwing it away.”

In total, 369 members of the public lodged objections to the development.