Residents oppose homes

Land off Crich Lane Belper, unhappy residents Arthur Gibson Rachael Clark and Michael and Julie Gregory
Land off Crich Lane Belper, unhappy residents Arthur Gibson Rachael Clark and Michael and Julie Gregory

Opposition to a 200-plus housing development on greenbelt land on Belper’s outskirts which is partly a World Heritage Site is heating up.

The plan, put forward by ADDC Development Consultants, for the 8.6-hectare development on Bessalone Hill has so far received 187 objections.

Following a public meeting during which residents and councillors met with an Amber Valley Borough Council planning officer an opposition group named Protect Bessalone Hill has beet set up to fight the controversial plans for the beauty spot.

Michael Gregory, 61, of Far Laund, has lived close to the proposed site for 33 years and is strongly opposing the build.

“This will have a severe impact on everybody in the area - not just in Far Laund but in Belper itself,” said Michael.

“This the highest point in Belper and you will be able to see it from everywhere.

“But the really worrying part is the lack of infrastructure. My wife has to wait three weeks for an appointment with our doctor as it is.”

Michael, a retired Royal Mail engineer, said roads in and around Belper were hopelessly congested already and 201 new houses would only make this worse.

He added: “The access to the site on Crich Lane is only a narrow road and the junctions where it comes out, whether at Ambergate or Belper, would not cope.

“You only have to go down to Morrison’s in Belper at any time of day to se it is complete gridlock.

“And then there are the schools. My children are grown-up but class sizes at St John’s Primary School are at 37 now.”

Father-of-two Michael said another big concern was issues with drainage on the land surrounding the proposed site.

He said: “Where I live a few years ago they replaced the pipes that come through the field near my house but when the contractors compacted the ground afterwards my garden was flooded as soon as it rained.

“Severn Trent Water were great and took measures to rectify it but I do not believe private developers would be quite so considerate with the problems all the tarmac will create.

“We are trying to get the word out to as many people as possible so they have the opportunity to make their objection known.”

The Belper News contacted the site’s prospective developers JC Balls & Sons for a response to residents’ objections but a spokesman for the excavations company declined to comment.

Meanwhile, a dedicated group has been set up to stop the development and preserve Bessalone Hill as a quiet nature spot for Belper folk.

To get in touch search for Protect Bessalone Hill on Facebook.

If you would like to view the application and make comments visit www.ambervalley.gov.uk.

Search for AVA/2016/0535 after visiting the environment and planning section of the website.