In March, a slim majority of Amber Valley borough councillors voted to propose that 14 additional sites would be deleted from the protected green belt to free up space for an extra 2,010 houses by 2028.
Plans to pave the way for thousands of houses on protected green belt land have stoked a wave of controversy in Amber Valley.
These additions are currently out for consultation, along with the rest of the borough’s Local Plan – a blueprint for future development.
Supporters of the “deletions” from the green belt say that this must be done to prevent developers being able to pitch housing plans wherever they choose across the borough.
They say this is happening now and would continue because the borough cannot currently prove it has a five-year housing land supply.
However, opponents say that green belt land ought to be the very last resort and should be permanently safeguarded – with former industrial brownfield sites made use of first.
They fear that the plans would affect the borough’s wildlife and ability for future generations to enjoy the countryside.
Chris Emmas-Williams, leader of Amber Valley Labour, said: “The Labour Group’s manifesto has consistently included the protection of our precious green belt, this is in stark contrast to the Conservatives who have ever since 2012 included at least one green belt site in the Local Plan submission.
“Because of their sheer incompetence the inspector has intervened, as once again a five year supply of housing could not be demonstrated.
“The Tories are now proposing the removal of 15 sites for housing development from the green belt, totally ignoring the advice contained in the NPPF and also the instruction from the Inspector to only include sites with ‘exceptional circumstances’.
“Protesters from the sites at Marehay, Ripley, Belper, Heage, Duffield, Codnor and Heanor have demonstrated against these proposals as these areas have infrastructure issues already.
“The roads are struggling to cope with current traffic levels, schools are full to capacity and there are issues with doctor and dental services.
“When it’s gone, it’s gone. Save our green belt.”
We have approached Amber Valley Borough Council for comment.