Jenrick cites world heritage impact in refusing 185 homes in Derbyshire green belt

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has dismissed an appeal for a housing development in the Derbyshire green belt after finding that it would cause unacceptable harm to a world heritage site

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick (pic: Getty)
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick (pic: Getty)

Applicants C&K Ball had submitted plans for 185 homes in Belper in March 2017. The application was refused by Amber Valley Borough Council in December that year. A subsequent appeal was recovered for determination by the secretary of state in January 2019.

Jenrick has now agreed with a recommendation from inspector Helen Hockenhull that the appeal should be dismissed and planning permission refused.

The decision was published on the same day that Jenrick allowed appeals over two other applications for a total of 183 homes in Belper. All three appeals related to sites in the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site (WHS) buffer zone.

Explaining his decision to refuse the 185-home proposal, Jenrick noted that the parties agreed that it represented inappropriate development in the green belt. The housing secretary said this carried substantial weight against the proposal.

He found that the proposed development would reduce the extent of open landscape providing a setting to the WHS and undermine the contribution of the setting to the site's outstanding universal value and significance.

This harm carried considerable weight against the proposal, Jenrick said. Although it would be less than substantial, he found that it needed to be weighed against the public benefits of the proposed scheme.

The secretary of state accepted that the provision of housing carried significant weight in favour of the proposal. He also attached moderate weight to economic benefits arising from construction and occupation of the homes and limited weight to the provision of a heat network, open space and contributions towards education and healthcare.

However, he decided that these benefits did not outweigh harm to the green belt and the significance of the WHS. “The very special circumstances to justify inappropriate development do not therefore exist,” he concluded.

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