Residents ‘appalled’ by Belper Town Council response to car park plans

Residents living near St John's Church in Belper are angry at town council plans to create a private car park.
Residents living near St John's Church in Belper are angry at town council plans to create a private car park.

Residents protesting plans to restrict a Belper car park for the sole use of the town council have been left “appalled” by councillors’ response.

A group of 21 residents of St John’s Road, the Butts and Nottingham Road attended a meeting of the council facilities committee on Tuesday, January 23, to set out compromise proposals.

A new agreement between the council and the Diocese of Derby, would mean land attached to St John’s Church would no longer be available to residents who have parked there for many years, despite heavy congestion in the area.

Resident Andrew Wilson said: “We are appalled and vexed by the behaviour, attitude and belligerence of the council. The attitude of the committee was arrogant beyond belief, and councillors are clearly out of touch with community.”

He added: “They struck down everything we said for purely self-serving reasons.”

Having been invited to set out plans for a residents’ permit scheme, Andrew said he was permitted to speak for just three minutes, barred from questioning the council directly in debate, and told the decision was already made.

A statement issued on behalf of the council said: “The committee considered the proposal and concluded that as the council was limited to 21 spaces in the lease, those should be used solely for council staff, visitors, councillors and Heritage Centre users.

“The council is bound by an order that decisions should not be revisited within a six month period unless there is a change in circumstances.”

The residents are now considering whether to lodge an official complaint against the council, and are hoping to meet with the archdeacon of Derby and town mayor to discuss the impact of the lease before it is actually signed.

The council statement said: “The diocese increasing the number of car parking spaces would constitute a change in circumstance and if this were the case the council could consider a further approach by the residents for permit parking.”