A SECRET ballot is to be held in Smalley to ask villagers whether or not they oppose two nearby opencast mining plans.
Smalley Parish Council had previously decided not to oppose plans to extend the nearby opencast mine at Lodge House despite pressure from a local action group, led by Smalley man Neil Paget.
However at the latest parish council meeting, members agreed to reconsider their decision if villagers voted against the plans in the ballot. The Lodge House application will be decided by minerals authority Derbyshire County Council in April.
Mr Paget is thrilled the council is allowing villagers to vote on the application. He said: “The action group is very glad to work with the parish council. It is now up to the people of Smalley to decide.”
Smalley councillors also voted to oppose a proposal to mine 400,000 tonnes of coal from a Denby mine and build an access road that joins up with the A608 in Smalley. An increase in traffic and noise was given as the main reasons.
Chairman of the parish council Stan Wilton said the ballot would allow people to have their say on both opencast applications.
The move comes as the village is also facing the prospect of a big development plan to build 83 homes on land off Adale Road in the village.
Cllr Wilton said: “Traffic in the village is already at breaking point,”
It comes after Amber Valley MP Nigel Mills, who’s constituency Smalley falls in, gave his backing to a Parliamentary Bill calling for ‘buffer zones to be created between mines and nearby homes. However after a heated debate in the House of Commons the bill did not get the Government’s support. It is due to be debated again in October.
Tory Mr Mills said people in smalley faced the blight of more mining with a move to extend the Lodge House scheme for a further three years.