Have your say on transport in Belper

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The second of the presentations being made as part of the first stage of public consultations concerning the Neighbourhood Plan will take place at 7.30pm on Wednesday 10th February in Milford Community Centre.

The topic will be Transport & Travel and there will be a chance to ask questions and to give your views.

Everyone who lives and works within Belper parish (Bargate, Belper, Belper Lane End, Blackbrook, Broadholme, Far Laund, Makeney, Milford, Mount Pleasant, Openwoodgate, Whitemoor and outlying areas) can have their say.

Our town and district has taken centuries to develop from cottage-based industries to a complex of mills and forges and is now emerging as an important retail centre.

Our means of transport grew alongside these changes; from a short walk to work to more long distance commuting by car, bus or train; from the packhorse to a van or articulated lorry.

One of the charms of Belper and the associated villages nestling by the Derwent is that in essence the core structure has changed little in the past 200 years.

The only major changes have been the consolidation of mill buildings, and the spread of housing across the hills to the East and North of Belper and beside the river in Milford.

It is only natural that we want to conserve what is good about this area but changes in the way we live put an inordinate strain on an infrastructure which has seen little change since the coming of the railways in 1838.

It is not so long ago that the majority of folk could walk to where they worked but the steady flow of traffic on our roads is symptomatic of how employment has changed.

A simple statistic from the 2011 census - that 40% of those working in Belper live outside of the town - tells us why our car parks are so full.

It is difficult to forecast how Belper will change in the next decade or so.

The only certainty is that change will occur: there will be developments in technology; perhaps more people will be working from home; society may move to a different balance between public and private transport, and so on.

We cannot know, but we can try to identify those elements that are in our control or state a collective preference on matters where our voices will be taken into consideration.

Plan for Belper gives us the opportunity to say what we think about many topics relating to life in the district and the meeting on Wednesday 10th February in Milford Community Centre is an opportunity to speak up about transport and travel.

If you live or work within the parish, this will be a chance to share your thoughts about walking or cycling, jittys and footpaths, driving and parking, trains, buses and taxies, and heavy goods vehicles.

If you feel there are positive aspects to getting about in the area, wish to highlight what you think is wrong with our current travel scene, or have ideas on how any aspect of transport and travel can be improved then this meeting gives you a chance to influence the content of Plan for Belper.

If you want to express views but cannot make the meeting, please e-mail us at nplan4b@gmail.com or write to NP4B, St. John’s Chapel, The Butts, Belper, Derbyshire, DE56.1HX.