Housing at historic town site approved

NRHNBE111220b1, Ripley town hall.
NRHNBE111220b1, Ripley town hall.

Councillors have given the go-ahead for plans to demolish Belper’s former Labour Club buildings and erect 13 homes in its place.

The development would see a mix of one, two and three-bedroom homes from one to four storeys in height right on the edge of the town centre.

But approval of the plans is subject to a Section 106 Agreement calling for investment in Belper parks and provision of open space and a clause that planning officers should be given the power to refuse the application if any terms set out are not agreed by the developer within six months.

Maurice Neville, Amber Valley Borough councillor for Belper Central, said he welcomed the decision.

“As with all these things there is more than one point of view,” said Coun Neville.

“But that building has been there a long time and it’s an eyesore.

“While out canvassing many people told me they were worried about the effect of traffic coming out of the entrance but I think the county council point of view was that it would be manageable.

“There are so many brownfield sites like this one but applications for housing tend to be on the periphery of town on greenfield land.

“By developing this building we will be improving the look of the town enormously.”

Coun Neville said Belper was a town with a unique history in which people wanted to live but there was a balance to be struck between preserving its history and housing provision.

And the site is not without its sensitivities as it lies next to a Grade II listed building and is within the Belper and Milford Conservation Area and the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

The plans for it have been amended several times due to consultee and neighbour comments.

Amber Valley Borough Council received almost 40 letters of objection during two consultations over the development, including concerns that its design was too modern for its surroundings.

A former conservation officer raised concerns with the height of the proposed building next to the listed building at 12 Lander Lane.

But after several amendments the current conservation officer has raised no objections.

The council’s planning report reads: “The development is proposed to be in brick with stone plinths, which characterises the materials of the conservation area.

“The roof covering has been amended to incorporate natural slate, rather than artificial tiles or sheet material.

“The design proposed is a skilful response to a difficult site, which is an honest expression of its time, which would both preserve and enhance the character of the Belper and Milford Conservation Area and the setting of the adjacent grade II listed Georgian terrace.”

To see the plans visit http://www.ambervalley.gov.uk/council-and-democracy and search for planning board in committee documents.