Crossing safety plea at medical centre quashed

a PLEA for safety measures to be installed outside Whitemoor Medical Centre in Belper has been turned down sparking anger from councillors who claim they have been cut out of the decision making process.

Wildgoose Construction Ltd was told to include a pathway and a traffic island on Whitemoor Lane in 2010 - and its appeal against an order saying it had to carry out the work was upheld by the Planning Inspectorate last month.

Now Amber Valley Borough Council will write to Derbyshire County Council to find out why the developer were allowed to drop the measures.

At the latest meeting of the borough council’s planning board Cllr Alan Cox said: “Why did they ignore our request and what are they going to do to prevent it from happening again? If we don’t get a response it will have to go to the Ombudsman. When the application was approved certain conditions were imposed because of road safety at the request of DDC officers. These conditions were ignored by the developers.”

Cllr Cox believes that the very people who use the medical centre the most – the elderly and young mothers with pushchairs – have been put at risk.

He said: “I have seen an old couple shuffling across the road very recently. It is dangerous. “The developer didn’t do what they were told. We have been disturbed by it from the very beginning. We have been trying to get it done. We have gone through all the legal things, but we have lost. I want to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Assistant director of Planning and Regeneration at Amber Valley Derek Stafford said: “We have a duty to investigate what the elected members’ concerns are about the process. The next step is to formally write to the county so they can set out how they understood what happened.”

A spokesman for DCC said: “As Highways Authority we were consulted on the original planning application for Whitemoor Medical Centre and were satisfied with the proposals, subject to conditions.

“At pre-construction meetings, subsequent to the granting of planning permission, an issue was raised regarding the construction of the pavement and the retention of hedge on Whitemoor Lane. A site meeting with all concerned took place in February 2008 where this issue was discussed. We then worked with the developers and the borough council and were satisfied that the solutions proposed, and ultimately built, were acceptable to us, given the difficulties of the site.”

The £3.5 million medical centre is owned by developers Haven Health which hired Ashover-based builders Wildgoose Construction Ltd. It was officially opened in October 2008 after the Green Lane Surgery was moved from the town centre.