23rd October 2014

As you may be aware, the Labour-controlled Amber Valley Borough Council passed its Local Plan last Wednesday night. Many people attended the meeting and were allowed to discuss points for up to three minutes, with many left waiting outside in the rain without having had their chance to speak.

If the Council is aiming to get the Local Plan right in terms of engagement with the people, it is going in the wrong direction. The chosen approach that the Council has taken is undemocratic and not localised. We need to involve local communities in planning so that they take ownership of it, if we’re to build all the houses we need. The Labour approach appears to be the opposite; the Plan is being put through without any consultation and without letting local people speak.

Monday 8th September 2014

As I promised in a blog post last week, I’ve made my comments regarding the Draft Core Strategy available for constituents to view online.

As a summary, I indicated that I did not believe that the number of houses proposed to be built are required here; that there should be a pause in the consideration so as to ensure that inappropriate developments could be resisted more easily, meaning the Plan would be in the best interests of the Borough; that such a pause would enable the Council to reconsider whether the joint approach with Derby City and South Derbyshire District Councils are in the best interests of the Borough since we’re so far away; advocate a similar approach to Erewash, stating that it may result in a more sensible outcome.

I also commented on specific sites. First, Lily Street Farm, the manner in which the Council proposed which was in my view unacceptable and damages the confidence that the process is fair and evidence-based. I also stated that we risk the merging communities of Swanwick and Alfreton, as well as stating that I don’t believe it’s realistic that people could live and work on the same site.

I mentioned that the Codnor to Woodlinkin bypass – which is needed – is now, in my view, not viable now that the Ripley Gateway/Morrisons proposals have been rightly rejected.

Finally, as I have always done in my prior representations to the previous administration, I urged the Council to take a proactive look at brownfield sites. Examples I included are those such as the Butterley works and Stevenson dye works. The New Homes Bonus could be considered for any funding gaps for decontamination or infrastructure costs to make these sites more viable and reduce the need for greenfield sites.

You can read my full letter here.

In the interest of transparency, I have left my comments regarding the previous administration’s Core Strategy, which was not approved by the Planning Inspector, on my web site. You can view these here.