Saturday, December 2, 2023

Residents Unhappy At Bullsmoor Consultation Level

Following the submission of a Planning Application to extend the Valliant factory and car parking and to build 150 homes on land at Bullsmoor, behind the existing factory Amber Valley Borough Council have written to a number of neighbouring residents to seek their views.

Protect Belper, the organisation set up to fight the inclusion of Bullsmoor, Cherry House Farm and Pottery Farm in the, now abandoned, Local Plan are unhappy at the level of consultation letters sent to residents locally. A post on the Protect Belper Facebook page – – states:

“It has just been brought to our attention that the actual number of households that have been notified of the proposed Bullsmoor development is very small. Even the houses on Nottingham Rd that overlook the whole of this area have not been consulted. On the list of consultees on the AVBC website it looks like there is a lot but when you look closely, some of these have been duplicated. AVBC are under no obligation to inform everyone in the locality even though it will have a direct impact on everyone living in Belper.”

In addition, they have outlined how you can voice your opinion of the proposals:

“If you made a representation/objection to AVBC during the consultation period for the emerging Core Strategy (Local Plan) before the plan was withdrawn, please send your representation/objection in again for this current planning application (you may have to re-word it slightly and make sure you put the new planning application number – AVA/2016/0754)  All of your reasons for objecting are still valid and if you are objecting for the first time, please only use material planning considerations:

* The whole of the proposed development is within the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site buffer zone. * Highways concerns for Kilbourne Rd/Nottingham Rd and the wider community – dangerous entrance and exit/internal traffic flow within the proposed development is constricted-busy factory with HGV’s compromised with up to 300+ extra cars. Possible emergency service restricted access with only one way in and one way out. * Loss of green space and amenity. * Increased risk of flooding/surface water/sewerage. * Pottery School and Belper School at capacity (Both schools not even had a notification) * Dr’s and dentists can’t cope at the moment – long waiting lists for both. * Loss of wildlife habitat – priority species acknowledged by developer as being present. * Preservation of ancient field boundaries including hedgerows and trees”

In order to reach as many people as possible Protect Belper are printing and distributing thousands of flyers to local residents.

Cross party action and public meeting

Once again, a cross party alliance is emerging to fight these proposals with Cllr Maurice Neville (Lab) and Cllr Dan Booth (Con) joining forces to organise a public meeting at Strutts Community Centre at 6 pm on Thursday 18th August. This is open to all.

Cllr Booth urged everyone to send their objections to AVBC:

“You don’t have to be on the consultation list to make comments. I accept that the consultation list may be small but it’s not practical to contact everyone. After all this proposed development would affect the whole town. I’m hoping for a great turnout at our public meeting. I understand the difficulty of school holidays but unfortunately comments have to be made within a short time frame and the timing of this application is not helpful for us. We know that we won’t be able to suit everyone but we are doing the most we can within a small time scale. Anyone can email concerns to me at any time or better still send them direct to AVBC planning.”

By David George

Claire Meese


3 thoughts on “Residents Unhappy At Bullsmoor Consultation Level

  • Jenny Lesley

    Is the presence of Japanese Knotweed a material consideration? It’s all round the exterior walls of Cherry House Farm

  • BobbyCC

    has there been any studies into how the new estate would effect the towns level of light pollution and the local residents rights to darkness?

  • Cllr Maurice Neville

    I have spent the last few days reading the documentation, discussing the issue within and beyond the council and responding to residents. The nature of this application is puzzling to many people. Why is Vaillant partnering a project which effectively boxes them in within a crescent of housing ? A successful company surely needs to think ahead to potential future needs rather than closing this off. The Planning Support Statement for the joint proposal with Peveril Homes says this about the requested factory extension:
    The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) ” requires local planning authorities to ‘support existing business sectors, taking account of where they are expanding or contracting’. Vaillant is a major employer in Belper and requires expansion land to develop the business and potentially raise employment levels. The application site provides the only practical option to physically extend the exiting site. Moreover, the application site is currently allocated for employment uses”.

    Fair enough you might think. But the very next statement is this: ”Planning Policies should avoid the long term protection of sites allocated for employment use where there is no reasonable prospect of a site being used for that purpose. Land allocations should be regularly reviewed. Where there is no reasonable prospect of a site being used for the allocated employment use, applications for alternative uses of land or buildings should be treated on their merits having regard to market signals and the relative need for different land uses to support sustainable local communities”.

    This looks like a flat contradiction – let us expand now because we need to grow but let houses be built on neighbouring land, currently allocated for business use, in such a way as to make further expansion impossible.
    One line of thinking is that the ultimate intention is actually to move away from this limited site , which opens up the current site for more housing. Another line of thinking is that the Paris Climate Agreement means that the Government has declared that in order for us to meet the carbon targets we signed up to in Paris, gas appliances such as cookers and boilers will largely have to disappear from UK homes and businesses within the next fifteen years. New homes will not be fitted with them and old ones will be replaced with other systems. So is Vaillant is possibly looking at the whole purpose of this site becoming redundant ?

    Look at paragraph 4.12 from the planning support statement: ”… the NPPF sets out how Local Authorities should deal with long standing employment allocations that are unlikely to come forward. This is particularly relevant since there is no 5 year supply. Furthermore there is a precedent in the issuing of planning consent AVA/2012/1086 for residential development on an allocated employment site. With regard to the Bullsmoor site an area of approximately 3.8 ha will be retained for the expansion of Vaillant Group UK Limited. Furthermore it will be accessed and levelled to facilitate expansion. The application is consistent with the NPPF. ”

    On the one hand they are saying 3.8 hectares of land will be required for expansion, on the other hand they say it should be available for housing if required.

    With 150 houses already in place and a further 3.8 hectares ‘accessed and levelled’, supposedly for factory expansion, the change of use to more housing could easily proceed.

    Finally, to make matters worse and as Cllr Ben Bellamy and I warned in our campaign for the Borough Council Elections in May, the double failure of the Conservatives to achieve a Core Strategy for Amber Valley is enthusiastically exploited in this document to undermine the case against the Bullsmoor development. The Council has limited resources to fight these battles and now has one hand tied behind its back.

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