I’ve been active on the Core Strategy since it became an issue in Amber Valley.
As you may be aware, the Labour-controlled Amber Valley Borough Council passed its Local Plan on 15th October. 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.
The old Stevensons’ dyeworks should have been in the Local Plan from the outset. The site is in desperate need of remediation that can only be achieved through development – indeed it already has outline planning permission for over 100 houses.
The Council needs to work more proactively to get these sort of contaminated, brownfield sites brought forward rather than easy green field sites. They may be more difficult to develop and produce lower profits, but re-using the land will benefit the local area. It’s for sites like these that the Government’s New Homes Bonus funding was introduced.
I hope the Council will ensure that the commitment to the Cromford Canal route is maintained in the Local Plan.