Proposals for 600 houses dubbed ‘lunacy’ at public meeting

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Hundreds of outraged residents packed out a public meeting to find ways to fight plans for nearly 600 houses in Belper.

The meeting held at Strutts Community Centre in the town was so full it saw balconies, classrooms and the main hall filled with more than 300 local people all anxious that their views on the proposals were heard.

Amber Valley Borough Council is proposing 120 houses in Derwent Street, 250 at Bullsmoor/Cherry House Farm and 200 new homes near Pottery Farm as part of their core strategy development blueprint for the area.

Angry residents told the meeting the plans were ‘lunacy’ and ‘idiotic’ during a heated debate in which locals were advised on how they could best express their objections.

Belper Mayor Cllr Joe Booth told the meeting: “Hopefully we can all work together and give valid reasons why this can’t take place.”

Belper Town Council has hired town planner Bob Pick to help advise the authority on how it can challenge the plans.

The meeting heard fears that schools would be

over-subscribed, there would be extra traffic and

congestion, increased flood risks, a loss of wildlife and habitat and increased

pressure on public services.

Resident John Milford said: “These aren’t just green fields – they are the buffer zone of a World Heritage Site.

“The fact that UNESCO has designated these sites as such, does that afford them any protection? Why hasn’t that been taken into account when they were drawing up the core plan?”

People affected also attended a public consultation on the proposals at Number 28 Community Hall on Tuesday, August 19, where plans and layouts of the proposed houses were on display.

Around 1,200 people have so far signed a petition opposing the development, which is being proposed as part of earmarking potential housing sites as part of the core strategy.

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