Brokenshire refuses 150-home mixed-use appeal in Derbyshire over heritage concerns

Housing secretary James Brokenshire has refused two related planning appeals, including a scheme for 150 homes and a business park, due to concerns about the proposals' impact on a nearby World Heritage Site.

Appeals refused: housing secretary James Brokenshire
Appeals refused: housing secretary James Brokenshire

In May last year, Amber Valley Borough Council refused an application by developer Peveril Homes and heating firm Vaillant Group to build 150 homes in Belper, Derbyshire, plus 6,000 square metres of manufacturing and distribution facilities, public open space and offices.

In November 2017, the council turned down a revised application that removed the homes and open space and amended the employment space. The developer subsequently appealed against both decisions.

This week, Brokenshire backed the recommendation of a planning inspector that both schemes should be refused.

In both cases, he concluded that the economic benefits of the scheme were not sufficient to outweigh the harm to local heritage assets, including the nearby Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, even though it was "less than substantial".

The site, near Belper, falls within the heritage site buffer zone and the scheme was opposed by some  residents and local MPs.

Brokenshire concluded that the developments would reduce the ability to appreciate a grade II listed farmhouse next to the site, and that the urbanisation of the greenfield land would harm the conservation area in which it sits.

The decision letter said that allowing the development would "to a large extent blur the clear boundary between town and country".

He agreed with the inspector’s conclusion that the development would cause serious harm to the unchanged historic countryside.

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