18th April 2012

Amber Valley Borough Council have today published the latest draft version of the local plan – you can find it here in the papers for the full council meeting next week.

The documents set out that the identified housing growth need for Amber Valley for the period from 2008 to 2028 is 9,000 houses. Of these 1000 have already been built, 1,941 already have planning permission.  After some other exclusions the Council have identified a need to find 4,414 houses on additional sites, and propose the following:

– Outseats Farm, Alfreton – 500 all Greenfield;
– Newlands/Taylor Lane, Heanor – 500 – 60% Greenfield, 40% brownfield;
– Nottingham Road, Ripley – 560 – Greenfield/ Greenbelt;
– Alfreton Road, Codnor – 500 – all Green Belt;
– Coppice Farm, Ripley – 360 – all Greenfield;
– Land north of Denby (“Cinderhill”) – 1,500 – 60% Brownfield, 40% Greenfield.

The other sites the Council consulted on are not proposed to be proceeded with. These sites include:

  •  – the 2 in Swanwick at Lily Street Farm and Derby Road;
  •  – Birchwood Lane, Somercotes;
  •  – Heritage Farm, Riddings;
  •  – Hardy Barn Shipley/Heanor;
  •  – Chesterfield Road, Alfreton;
  •  – Codnor Common;
  •  – the land between Heage Road and Marehay; and
  •  – the land off Cromford Road in Langley Mill.

In my previous response to the Council I set out the need to protect greenbelt, use brownfield sites and avoid merging settlements. The Council have rejected many of the Greenbelt sites they were consulting on which is to be welcomed and seem to have tried to avoid merging settlements.

The announcement is clearly welcome news for the communities around sites which are no longer being considered but disappointing for those where the sites are still under consideration. I pay tribute to the local people and organisations which have campaigned hard for their areas and I am sure this will continue as the Council take the plan further.

I am still working through the detail of the announcement in terms of the total housing target and the reasons for this – on first glance it looks high at 9,000 and seems to assume higher population growth than trends currently suggest necessary.

At this stage I cannot comment on the individual sites outlined above. I do have some concerns at the use of Green Belt and note the Council’s aim to use this to deliver the much needed Ripley/Codnor bypass – this will clearly need to be carefully scrutinised to see if this is a price worth paying.

You can read about my response to the National Planning Policy Framework here.