Row bubbles over Highland Cattle plan

Highland cattle have ruffled the waters of a babbling brook even before drinking them.

The beasts are due to arrive shortly in Belper, leaving residents split on whether the stream will be enough to slake their thirst.

Amber Valley Borough Council wants to set up a trough supplied from a water pipe running from the Coppice car park.

But the plan has sharply divided views.

Town councillor, Dave Fisher, felt the scheme would be a waste of public money and said the brook was fed from springs which had never dried up in living memory.

“Not even when the reservoirs of Derwent and Ladybower have been empty and the old villages at the bottom have been apparent,” he told the town council.

His wife Sally said she was concerned about disruption to the car park and told the meeting:”Severn Trent Water dries up more regularly than the brook.”

But resident Adrian Rochford said the trough would be helpful for the cattle.

They will eat wildflowers and do what comes naturally - providing manure for the former deer park used by 12th century gentry.

“I am all in favour of the pipe and water supply to a trough. The reasons for not having it are just red herrings,” he added.

Belper mayor Deborah Biss referred to an inscription in railings on a bridge crossing the brook, which refers to its reliability.

“It says ‘Ladywell, anever failing spring, clear as crystal,’” she told the meeting.

Members agreed to allow Amber Valley to provide the pipe across the car park after councillor Alan Broughton’s move prompted a vote.

He said he had lived in Belper all his life and never saw the brook dry up but supported the trough as a back-up.

“As far as I am concerned, there have been a lot of scare mongering tactics,” he added.

In a message to the authority, an Amber Valley council officer said they were still negotiating with the Environment Agency to allow the cattle to drink from the brook.

“For the viability of the project, it needs a back-up supply just in case of drought and the water in the brook becomes low,” wrote landscape manager Sharon Thomas.

Do you think a trough should be set-up for the cattle.

Let us know by writing to 8 Heanor Road, Ilkeston, Derbyshire, DE7 8ER or emailing editor@belpernews.co.uk