Crich Parish Council steps up planning policy row with Amber Valley

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Crich Parish Council has passed a vote of no confidence in Amber Valley Borough Council over its approach to new housing developments.

Last month’s parish council meeting resolved to write to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government detailing its loss of faith in the borough council as the local planning authority.

The move follows months of campaigning by the parish council and local residents, pushing the borough to act in what would be deemed “a fair and responsible way” regarding the latest application for new housing in Crich.

Parish council chairman Margaret Lane said: “Amber Valley Borough Council continues to fail to provide a housing requirement figure for Crich parish, and for all other parish and town council areas within the borough.

“This means developers currently have a free-for-all in getting planning permission.”

According to the parish council, more than 200 new homes have been approved in Crich over the last three years, putting pressure on local facilities and amenities.

The latest point of contention is a development of 71 properties on land at Woodside Farm, which the borough planning board recommended for approval in December.

The parish council insists it conflicts with the Crich Neighbourhood Plan, which was adopted with the support of 97 per cent of voters at a referendum in September.

Councillor Lane said: “The report on which the decision was based omits important facts, is irrational, and is without proper reasoning.

“The National Planning Policy Framework is very clear that where a planning application conflicts with a Neighbourhood Plan that has been brought into force, planning permission should not normally be granted.”

She added: “While the parish council recognises the need for new homes it also recognises the need to prevent over-development and lasting damage to a much loved village community.”

A spokesman for Amber Valley borough council said: “The borough council has respectfully suggested to Crich Parish Council that the correct method of challenging this decision is a judicial review when the decision notice is issued.”

However, the parish council estimates the cost of a judicial review would be in the region of £50,000, which it would not be able to afford.

The letter to the Secretary of State has been circulated to all town and parish councils in Amber Valley, encouraging them to air their concerns, with several similar disputes under way and amid plans to open up Green Belt land for development.