Friday, December 8, 2023

Protecting the Green Belt in Belper

Green Belt Policy was established in 1955 primarily to stop urban sprawl and to permanently protect belts of open land.

It serves 5 purposes:

  • to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built up areas
  • to prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another
  • to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment
  • to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns
  • to assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land

The Green Belt is positive planning, and protects countryside which is nearby for 30 million people. The protection gives us 29,000 kilometres of public rights of way, woodlands and nature reserves.

Green Belt land is a scarce resource and it is afforded protection by the National Planning Policy Framework –Chapter 13.

Two thirds of all green belt land is in agricultural use, and this is a vital economic resource for food security and soil protection. This has to be of high environmental value when global population growth and climate change are putting increasing pressure on land, at a time when we grow less than two thirds of our own food.

Now more than ever we need to avoid unnecessarily losing our countryside.

The solution is the redevelopment of brownfield sites, which should have greater focus in decision making. The Campaign to Protect Rural England reports that there are enough brownfield sites to accommodate at least 1 million homes. Amber Valley Borough Council has not completed a brownfield survey which should have been the first step. A core planning principle is to ‘encourage the effective use of land by reusing land that has previously been developed. Most of this land is in urban areas close to jobs, roads and amenities.

The revised National Planning Policy Framework states that the exceptional circumstances needed to change Green Belt boundaries can only arise once Councils have considered all other options, including using brownfield sites, these considerations have not happened.

I specifically want to talk about the recommendation to delete land from the Green Belt on Far Laund in Belper, which is in my ward, Belper East.

The proposal would result in unrestricted development in the open countryside and would undoubtedly narrow the gap between Belper and Heage which both have individual and special characters. This site is currently in agricultural use.

The suggestion that the site is readily accessible to local services is farcical. It is half a mile to the nearest shop, a mile to the nearest secondary school and one and a half miles to medical centres, dentists etc. 345 houses on this site where it is so far from services would have a considerable impact on traffic issues.

The site includes Coppice Brook, which rises in Ripley, flowing under the A38 highway into the Far Laund area of Belper, and then to the Parks.  The brook originates from spring water and surface rain water, the underlying rock being millstone grit. The water flows out of the Parks and follows a course along the back of Brookside before entering culverts under the main Derby to Sheffield railway line and the A6 roadway, before emptying into the River Derwent.

This brook should be protected and enhanced through active management rather than built around. It is an amazing natural brook where water voles have been recorded recently, and there are also records of sticklebacks further upstream.

The site also has numerous footpaths crossing through, which are regularly used, and connects Far Laund with Whitemoor.

The Green Belt is our countryside next door, its fresh air and open spaces make it fundamental to our physical health and mental well being. Swallowing up farm land and wildlife habitats increases pollution, flood risk and car dependency.

I voted in Full Council on 4th March, against the proposed amendments to the existing Green Belt boundary to delete any land from the Green Belt, as did all my Labour colleagues.


We are now in a six week consultation period regarding the Local Plan.  It is crucial that everyone who wants to protect our Green Belt, uses this opportunity to object.


The proposed changes to the Submission Local Plan have been published for public consultation until 4:30pm on Tuesday 30 April 2019.  You can find all of the documents on the AVBC website.

You can lodge objections through the consultation form HERE


By Fay Atkinson

Belper East Labour Councillor
Amber Valley Borough Council

8 thoughts on “Protecting the Green Belt in Belper

  • Graham Bartram

    Very factual artical Fay, I live on Chesterfield Rd and the excess traffic will have a massive impact on us. You have my support.

  • Kieran H

    Which brownfield sites are proposed as an alternative within in Amber Valley? Isn’t the issue here that thus far not enough alternative sites have been identified to build upon within Amber Valley to meet Central Government targets and there’s a risk that local government will lose control over where to build if targets are not met?

    Hence moving to identify deletable Greenfield after attempts to identify other sites have fallen over; contaminated brownfield for example.

    Wouldn’t any council that loses control of planning be looked on very negatively, whatever the flavour?

  • people complain that there are not enough housing, so OK, we will build more, but then people complain “oh u cannot build there or here”, can’t win can you, THINK where your kids will be living and grand kids be living when there is no housing all because of their great grand parents were complaining all the time!!! well looks like your future kids and grand kids will be homeless!!!!! this is the 21st century, move on and stop moaning, the UK is so behind compared to the rest of the world, we are no longer back the in 19th or 20th century, this is the new 21st century, face up to reality!!!!!

  • I totally agree, we need more housing to sustain the growing population for the 21st century, how are we going to sustain this if people keeping moaning and complaining and objecting to sites being built to house the population, unless people stop complaining and moaning about the government and council not doing enough to tackle the problem, its the other way round, its minor majority who is tackling the government and council not to build, and yet its the same ones that are complaining there is a housing shortage crisis.

  • John Kindred

    Just think of all the brownfield sites around this area. Derwent Street in Belper and the old Butterley site in Ripley just to name two. The way developers squash houses in these days they’d get about 300 on the old Butterley site. Leave Bessalone Hill alone – it has a lot of history and folklore attached to it and if any development took place here it would almost join Belper and Heage. I know that we are in the 21st century, but that’s no excuse for destroying our countryside and wildlife – a lot of which is protected. I’ll bet a pound to a penny that also there are a lot of empty homes that could be renovated. I’m not moaning – THIS is reality!! I never thought that I’d say it, but the Tories have to go in our area.

  • John Kindred

    Where are my posts?

  • Cllr maurice neville - Belper Central AVBC

    The Greenbelt is an agreed area of land which is to be protected for the good of all of us and future generations. It has nothing whatever to do with preventing more housing if needed. Please will those who think this is just about ‘not in my back yard’ follow this link and read about why the Greenbelt is so important.

  • If a person hasn’t posted on the Nailed site before, or there has been a long gap between their postings, their first comments need to be approved by an editor before they show up on the site. This is a security feature, due to the high number of spam posts we get which could direct readers to dangerous sites. It also inhibits abusive comments which breach our policy. Our comments section on the site is not updating in real time. I have approved your first comment, but the 2nd is a duplicate.

Leave a Reply

GDPR, Your Data and Us:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.