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Former Amber Valley social club homes plan gets green light - despite objections

The former Ambergate Sports and Social Club
The former Ambergate Sports and Social Club

A former Amber Valley social club, and its grounds, will now be turned into homes – despite strong opposition from heritage chiefs.

Amber Valley Borough Council officers have this week signed off on the plans which will see the former Ambergate Sports and Social Club, in Matlock Road, lost to the community.

Two cottages on the site – which date back to the 1800s – will be restored; the social club will be demolished and replaced with a house; a terrace of three homes will also be built; and a barn in the grounds will be turned into a house.

The seven homes would have a total of 14 parking spaces.

The social club was built in the 1950s and has been closed for several years due to “a lack of use”.

A statement from Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site’s heritage coordinator, Adrian Farmer, submitted as a response to the application, claims that the plans are “inappropriate” and “less than exemplary”.

It reads: “The new build three-storey housing element is of an unprecedented scale, sited in the most prominent location of the site where its visual impact would be at its greatest.

“The intervention would confer a distinctly ‘urban’ character, which would seriously harm the outstanding universal value of the world heritage site.

“It is the scale and height of the residential block that is inappropriate for this site, irrespective of design quality.”

Ripley Town Council objected to the plans, claiming that the proposals were “out of character”.

Residents near to the site have also piled on the objections, stating that the new builds would be “totally out of scale” and “highly visible” within the valley.

They also state that the community building should be brought back into use for events and sports activities.

Council officers state in a report that the site has been plagued by crime and vandalism  since its closure.

The report states that a change in ownership resulted in a drop of membership numbers, which could no longer sustain the club and led to its closure.

It continues: “Given the amount of time in which the club has been closed, it is clear that there has been no local demand sufficient to re-open the building as a viable business.”

Eddie Bisknell , Local Democracy Reporting Service