Amber Valley Borough Council has just issued the Alternative Spatial Strategy Options consultation that will run until the 30th of September 2021. It has also issued the Strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA).
The Strategy Options have two elements.
The first is the quantum of housing and the amount of employment land that should be allocated. There are three options based on a central point where they council believes they can meet both their housing and employment land needs. There is a higher figure to promote growth and a lower figure to restrict growth in the Borough. The central figure is sufficient land for 6,395 dwellings and 42.33ha of employment land. The figure for growth is land for 7994 dwellings and 54.8ha of employment land and the lower figure is 4,796 homes and 34.2ha of employment land.
All these figures should be seen in the context that in 2019 the council were committed to building 9,977 dwellings and releasing 42ha of employment land. Since 2019 the government has changed the method for calculating housing need and the requirement to take housing from Derby, effectively overspill, has gone.
We believe that Amber Valley should pursue a growth agenda, unemployment is currently 4.5% and there is a need to secure employment, particularly in manufacturing. With new jobs comes new housing as jobs and homes should be located close to each other to minimise commuting and to reduce carbon emissions.
The second element is the spatial distribution of homes and employment land. The first option is to focus growth on the edge of Derby but outside the Green Belt. The second is to disburse growth into the villages and away from existing urban areas. The third is for a major urban extension or a new settlement outside the Green Belt, while the fourth is to concentrate development around Alfreton, Belper, Heanor and Ripley and on the edge of Derby with more limited growth in villages.
The fourth option is the likely outcome, but a major urban expansion of Derby, perhaps at Mackworth and Radbourne is a reasonable other option.
It is likely that the council will end up seeking to take the middle course but there will be pressure to limit development and it is important that we are seen to pursue a growth agenda.
The SHELAA is available on the Council’s web-site and it shows which sites have been considered and those considered suitable. It is likely that the quantum of land will broadly meet the middle option.
Jonathan Jenkin, Consultant, Planning & Design Practice Ltd