Houses could be built on town’s first settlement

Graffiti protest at Belper
Graffiti protest at Belper

Campaigners claim plans to build nearly 600 homes in Belper could involve concreting over the town’s earliest settlement site.

A public meeting has been called to discuss proposals which involve 120 houses in Derwent Street, 250 homes in Bullsmoor/Cherry House Farm, Belper, and 200 houses near Pottery Farm, Belper, on Monday, August 18, at 7pm.

Around 1,200 people have so far signed a petition opposing the development which is being proposed as part of Amber Valley’s new core strategy development blueprint.

And around 80 people attended a walk organised by Amber Valley Ramblers on Saturday, August 9, around the Bullsmoor area.

John Morrissey, footpath secretary at Amber Valley Group, Ramblers’ Association, said there were records that show that the area of Bullsmoor and Pottery Farm up to Sandbed Lane was a thriving area relating to Belper’s medieval Park and Manor which in turn was part of a larger area known as Duffield Frith.

“There is an area of medieval ridge and furrow that could conceivably be associated with Belper’s first settlement,” he said.

“Records suggest that the area is little changed since the fourteenth century. We feel that the implications of the plan have not been properly explained to the people of Belper and, unsurprisingly, considering the large area of the proposed building and its unexpectedness, there has been much local interest and concern.”

Concerns have already been raised by Belper councillors about the town not being able to cope with so many new houses, including having enough school places for new children.

Around 592 houses need to be built every year in Amber Valley until 2028, Government targets say

Tim Collis who helped organise the petition: “We are not ‘NiMBYs’. We are sad about the loss of these lovely fields. There are plenty of old places sat there boarded-up in Belper.

“However, it’s easier and cheaper for developers to build on a field. However, once that field’s gone, it’s gone forever.

“Before you know where you are Belper will be linked up with Kilburn and it starts turning into a city.”

Belper Town Council voted to arrange a public meeting at the Strutt s Community Centre during an extraordinary general meeting on Wednesday, August 6 . They also voted to employ a planning consultant who will also be at the meeting.

Amber Valley Borough Council is inviting comments on the proposals which need to be submitted by September 8.