This month, I’d like to focus on two local issues which affect people all across Amber Valley and which many of my constituents have contacted me about: housing developments and noise from the A38.
I recently visited a new development owned by Radleigh Homes which will provide nine new affordable rent homes in the centre of Ripley at a formerly derelict site. I welcome these fantastic new houses as a great example of how this Government is combining the fastest level of house building for 20 years, to get the new homes we need, whilst also prioritising regenerating brownfield sites to protect our greenfield land.
In this way, I’m disappointed by the Council’s recent approval of a major mixed-use development at Lily Street Farm in Swanwick. I know that this planning application, for over 600 houses, is against the wishes of local residents and local councillors, and I support their concerns that this would be a major development of greenfield land which would merge two distinct communities, and for which there is no demonstrable need. I have consistently opposed this application, and I’m doing everything I can to encourage its refusal. Indeed, just before the Council made their decision, I wrote to the Minister of State for Housing and Planning, to urge the Government to call in this major application, so that it can be considered fairly and impartially, with the interests of local residents as the priority.
I know that this Government is committed to protecting our green spaces, and ensuring that local people and communities are at the heart of planning decisions. I think it would therefore be premature to make a decision on the Lily Street Farm application whilst the Swanwick Neighbourhood Plan is still emerging and Amber Valley’s new Local Plan is still being drafted. I hope that the Minister will now be able to call the decision on Lily Street Farm in, to reconsider the case against this development.
I have also been pressing the Department for Transport and the Highways Agency for an update on measures to combat noise from the A38, which causes problems for so many people in Amber Valley.
I welcome an update from Highways England that they have launched a bid for funding to resurface the A38 through Amber Valley, following this Government’s pledge to provide £75 million for low noise surfacing on our roads. These desperately needed improvements would have an expected delivery date of between 2017 and 2021 – as the road reaches the end of its serviceable life.
To support this project, I’ve written to the Secretary of State for Transport to emphasise the urgency of low noise surfacing, and the great impact this scheme would have in Amber Valley.
I will continue to push for the right decision on both of these matters!