A fresh start for plans to shape the future of Belper

People in Belper are to be asked to help shape the future of land between the A6 and the River Derwent. A team of external planners have been appointed by Amber Valley Borough Council to help draw up the Supplementary Planning Document which, alongside existing planning policies, would form the basis for future planning decisions about the area, which is home to the former Thornton's site and other vacant buildings.

A workshop has already been held with a range of community groups and other interested bodies in the town at the Lion Hotel in Belper, in which people said what they liked about Belper, what they saw as problems in the area and made suggestions as to what scale of development might be acceptable.
Steve Williams, on behalf on the external planners said: "The people who took part clearly love Belper; it is a very special place because the industrial heritage relates to the whole town not just the World Heritage Site. People love the buzz in the town created by the independent shops, the 'food and the ale' which is set against the backdrop of being a World Heritage Site in a river valley setting."

The main areas of concerns identified were problems with traffic on Bridge Street/the A6; the need to access the site and link it with the rest of the town and the need to generate new employment.

Cllr Jim Anderson, Chairman of the Borough Council's Planning Board, also attended the workshop: "The workshop was very well received. The participants had different views, but all the groups worked together to find solutions, which could be delivered. There is a genuine passion to work with the Council on this document, and realism about the challenges of the site and the need to produce a planning framework that will deliver private sector investment into Belper."

The planners are now starting to look at potential options for the area with a view to consulting more widely in the New Year. A public open day is planned for the end of February when everyone in Belper will be able to express their views on the future plans for the area.

The Council expects the draft Supplementary Planning Document to be prepared by June 2012 which will be subject to full public consultation, before being adopted by the council later in the year.

Notes to editors
The area of land to be covered by the Supplementary Planning Document comprises 28 hectares between the A6 and the River Derwent in Belper. The whole of the area is within the Derwent Valley World Heritage Site.  The main parts of the site consist of the former Thornton's Chocolate Factory, which has been vacant for many years. The site also includes the sports pitches and facilities at Belper Meadows Sports Club/Belper Town Football Club and other informal open space.

The external planners appointed by the Council to prepare the Supplementary Planning Document have been provided by East Midlands Councils.  This is the consultative forum for all 46 authorities in the East Midlands region, which provides support to Councils to improve their services.
For further information please contact Luke Barrett Communications Manager on 01773 841 655 or email luke.barrett@ambervalley.gov.uk

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