Plans for homes on former prisoner of war camp near Belper set for approval

Plans to turn the skeleton of a former barn into a house in the Belper green belt are set to be rejected.

Monday, 8th June 2020, 4:38 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 3:51 pm
The homes will be a mix of two and three-bedroom properties.

In the past couple of years, plans to build homes on the Firs Work estate in Nether Heage, also a former prisoner of war camp, have been approved, recalled, refused and resubmitted.Now the plans, from Garner Holdings, reduced from 175 homes to 160 and without building any play space in green belt land, are set for approval again by Amber Valley Borough Council.A planned village hall building has also been dropped.The continuously changing fate of the Spanker Lane plans was caused by a change in administration at the borough council during the planning process, control having shifted from Conservative to Labour in May last year.Labour vowed not to allow any development in the green belt, which the proposals had included.Amber Valley planners have recommended the latest iteration of the plans should be approved at a virtual meeting on Monday, June 15.The plans have been slightly scaled back to move all development onto the industrial site and to remove plans to build a play area and balancing pond, to offset flooding, from the green belt.Instead, the play area and balancing pond will be within the industrial estate.At the same time as applying for the altered scheme, the developer is also appealing against the refusal of its initial plans. This was for 175 homes and a section of development in the green belt. The applicant is making a full claim for costs.It has said the appeal would be withdrawn if the council approves its redrawn plans next week.Of the 160 homes planned for the 22-acre site, 48 would be affordable housing and 112 would be private homes on the open market.In total, the site would have 400 parking spaces with an average of two per home.To offset the impact of the 160-home plans on local schools, Derbyshire County Council has asked for nearly £1.5 million for extra spaces at Swanwick Hall School and Heage Primary School.The site itself is the former home of LB Plastics and two-thirds of the industrial estate is still occupied. The developer has previously said it will ensure new premises for businesses on site would be sourced.It says attempts to let vacant space on the site had been unsuccessful due to the poor quality of the units.In previous debates over the plans, residents have stressed severe anxiety were about the impact the development would have on the village and the safety of schoolchildren walking along its roads – which objectors say are dangerous.They say the local road network cannot take the strain.These views are supported by Councillor Trevor Ainsworth, chairman of the county council, its cabinet support member for highways and Amber Valley councillor for Kilburn, Denby and Holbrook.Objection letters have been submitted by 22 residents who call the plans the creation of a “mini-village” which could be the start of a string of developments between Nether Heage and Belper.They also say public transport to the area is not sufficient enough for residents to rely on it over using a car, making it unsustainable.Objectors say the development will create a “great danger” on local roads.Council planners, recommending approval, wrote: “Whilst outside the built framework of Heage the residential development is proposed on the brownfield site. “The redevelopment will contribute to an overall improvement in the landscape and break up the built form of the existing industrial landscape.“It is acknowledged that residents are likely to be highly dependent upon private car use, however, this alone is not a reason to recommend refusal of the application.”