This is interesting – my first speech to full council before I had any idea I may become a councillor.
Speech to full Council meeting – 26 September 2012
You say that the Borough Council’s Vision for Amber Valley, as set out in its 2012-15 Corporate Improvement Plan, is ‘Making Everywhere In Amber Valley A Great Place To Live’. Well these plans for Amber Valley are the exact opposite.
Great places to live aren’t hemmed in by unwanted housing developments, they are surrounded by open green spaces where children can play and enjoy nature. Great places have good infrastructure and facilities – not already stretched drains, full schools, and clogged up roads. Sustainable communities don’t just absorb the residents of five hundred houses overnight, they grow naturally. Amber Valley isn’t going to be an attractive place for people to live, work, and visit. With your building strategy, it’s just going to be one urban sprawl.
The vision of Codnor with these 550 extra houses behind Alfreton Road is a nightmare. Three thousand extra traffic movements a day on already congested streets. Access for this development is due to come out on Alfreton Road, and this street cannot already take the traffic it is meant to serve at the moment. As the houses are mainly terraces, the residents park on both sides of the road. There is hardly space for two cars to pass each other, let alone two lorries, and yet the Borough Council is also proposing to build a bypass that starts in Ripley and ends at the end of this road. I don’t believe you’re going to build the bypass as the edge of this development. You don’t have the funding.
Traders on the marketplace tell me that there is a crash at the junction between Alfreton Road and the main road every day, as left-hand drive lorries struggle to get out safety. Five hundred houses with three thousand traffic movements and a bypass will exacerbate the situation. What’s more, I’ve also been told that the area you plan to develop was opencast in the early 20th century, so I question whether there are environmental concerns with the land.
I fail to understand why the council policy is to build on greenbelt land when there are brownfield sites that need developing and regenerating. I fail to understand who is going to buy these houses when there are already 237 properties within a mile radius of Codnor that are unsold. I fail to understand why, even if Derby needs an extra 9000 homes for growth, people would want to live in Codnor and commute to Derby.
I’m not opposed to sensible development within Codnor or within Amber Valley, and I’m sure there are sites that need regenerating by a piecemeal approach, Sheehy Hall for example, but I ask you to listen to the people of Amber Valley and rip up these disastrous plans.