Pressure mounts over Belper homes plan

Bullsmoor, Belper
Bullsmoor, Belper

Campaigners are stepping up their fight against plans to build hundreds of homes in Belper – claiming the town is being used to help meet housing demand for Derby.

Amber Valley Borough Council is proposing to build 150 properties at Bullsmoor and 120 in Derwent Street as part of its Core Strategy masterplan for future housing in the area.

Mid Derbyshire Green Party has sent a letter to the authority questioning the need to build on the Bullsmoor area, which overlooks the Derwent Mills World Heritage Site.

The letter states that Derby City Council has identified 3,593 potential dwellings on brownfield sites – but not included them in its Core Strategy plan.

Sue MacFarlane, Green Party candidate for the Belper North ward at next year’s council elections, said: “It’s disgraceful that the authority is proposing to dig up green fields throughout the area to meet Derby’s housing needs – when Derby City Council has discounted so many potential houses from its plan.”

Julie Wozniczka, chair of Mid Derbyshire Green Party, added: “These proposals are not sound.”

A spokesman for the Protect Belper campaign group claimed the plans for Bullsmoor were “neither sound nor justified”.

The spokesman added: “We urge the council to remove Bullsmoor as a strategic site for housing from the Core Strategy.”

More than 2,000 residents have signed a petition against the controversial proposals.

Concerns have already been raised by Belper councillors and residents about the town not being able to cope with so many new houses.

They say more homes would lead to extra traffic and congestion and schools would be over-subscribed.

About 590 houses need to be built every year in Amber Valley until 2028, Government targets say.

Amber Valley Borough Council declined to respond to the concerns and criticisms raised.

A spokesman for Derby City Council said: “It is misleading to suggest that the city is sitting on lots of brownfield housing sites and not including them in our strategy.

“There are many brownfield sites in the city which are simply not right for housing and probably never will be – but every option has been looked at in preparing our plan.”