Swanwick residents will fight housing

SWANWICK householders and parish councillors will fight on to stop greenfield and green belt land being developed in the village as part of a new local housing plan.

Concerned local John Briggs says the town’s infrastructure could not support a development of up to 1,000 houses over the two sites - and claims brown field sites should be considered instead.

And Mr Briggs (63), of Derby Road and other villagers attended a special Amber Valley Borough Council working group to voice their concerns on Monday.

He said: “We are working very closely with parish councillors and we are a united body.

“Plans for the Lily Street site have been defeated three times already during public enquiries and the parish council will continue to fight development.”

Monday’s meeting was held after villagers presented the borough council with an 1,800-signature petition rejecting sites put forward by building developers as part of a the authority’s strategic housing land availability assessment between now and 2028.

The sites - between Pentrich Road and Butterley Reservoir and between Lily Street Farm and Derby Road - would effectively join the village and Ripley together.

Derby Road residents and other villagers voiced their opposition amid fears that Swanwick does not have enough schools, doctors or roads.

Coun Dennis Fretwell, chairman of Swanwick Parish Council executive committee, said: “We are now in the process of developing a neighbourhood plan. We have set aside some money to develop the plan but it will not be sufficient to hold a referendum on what the local groups want.

“Amber Valley Borough Council should be helping us come up with a neighbourhood plan so we are not in conflict. It should not publish its core strategy without taking into account our neighbourhood plan.”

Derek Stafford, assistant director of planning and regeneration at the borough council, said: “We tried to reassure residents on Monday that they have genuine concerns in the Swanwick area but there is a process we need to follow in terms of our core strategy.

“One of the main tasks is to establish how much housing we need to provide and where it could be located.

“Later this year we will decide which (areas) should be promoted for growth. Swanwick residents are keen to stress this is not an area where the development should be located.

“We hear their concerns but cannot comment at this stage.”

He said the borough council hoped to have decided on preferred sites for development by June or July, but these would then be subject to further consultation.