Reader letter: Failure to recognise depth of feeling about housing plans

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Amber Valley Borough Council’s Revised Core Strategy was discussed at Belper Town Council’s meeting on Tuesday, November 11.

In my opinion, it is clear from the revised proposals that the borough council has failed to recognise the depth of feeling amongst the residents of Belper against building houses on any part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

More significant action was therefore required for the will of the residents to be fully heard.

I found on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site website that a World Heritage Site (WHS) who’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) will be compromised by war, natural disaster, or inappropriate building can be put on their WHS Endangered List.

The list is designed to inform the international community of conditions which threaten the very characteristics for which a property was inscribed on the World Heritage List, and to encourage corrective action.

I suggested to the town council that we write to UNESCO to tell them that the actions of the borough council, which if implemented, would, in our view, considerably reduce the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site.

A view expressed by a planning inspector in a planning appeal in 2011.

There is currently one WHS on the endangered list in the UK and that is Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City WHS (primarily Liverpool Docks).

Liverpool City Council passed a planning application for buildings that were taller than those that had been agreed to and would be visible from the waterfront. Liverpool City Council was ‘encouraged’ to revise their plans.

Belper Town Council decided to write to UNESCO to tell them of Amber Valley Borough Council’s plans and to ask that the site be put on the WHS Endangered list. Only two members of the council voted against the motion, all the other councillors present were fully behind the motion.

-Cllr Dave Fisher

Town Council member for Belper Central Ward (which includes Derwent Street and Bullsmoor)