Residents fear that a Derbyshire village “gem” will be “tarnished forever” by approved homes plans.
Amber Valley Borough Council has said yes to proposals to build a total of 54 houses in South Wingfield, near Matlock.
The two applications, for 35 and 19 homes respectively, were given the go-ahead by the council’s planning board last night (Monday, September 23).
Residents say that the homes were not in keeping with the rural character of the village and represented an urban “intrusion” on the landscape which would “ruin it overnight”.
The 35-home plans, submitted by Alfreton firm Wildgoose Homes, were initially approved in March but were recalled by the new Labour administration for further assessment.
Following that initial approval, a protester threw a handful of 5p pieces at councillors and council staff, exclaiming “Here’s 30 pieces of silver from South Wingfield, you Judases!”.
Both sets of homes will be built on land off Wessington Lane and would be separated by a few metres.
Dozens of residents attended last night’s meeting, calling for both plans to be rejected.
Paul Jackson said that he has the “best insight” into how the plans would affect South Wingfield, having lived in the village since 1961.
He said that if the homes were approved “public well-being and lives would be at risk”.
Mr Jackson said: “This would be a blight on the countryside.
“We see this as invasive, as if it was greenbelt land.
“This would have the most devastating impact on our village.”
Another resident said that the 35-home scheme, which would have 30 per cent affordable housing, “will create a suburban estate not in keeping with the character of South Wingfield”.
Meanwhile, another objecting resident said: “A gem like this can’t be created overnight, it has to be nurtured.
“This development is a small urban development. The gem will be tarnished forever
“These two developments are so close together they almost touch. This is a village with great character and it can be ruined overnight.”
Oliver Evans, who runs a farm 15 metres from the site, said: “Our livelihood has not been considered to date, agricultural use of Wessington Lane, by us, has not been considered.
“This is a major safety concern, we regularly use Wessington Lane to move our livestock.
“There has been an increase in speeding motorists up the lane and there have been a number of near misses.”
Mr Evans said that his wife regularly pushes their child in a pushchair up the lane and that he already fears for their safety.
He said: “This will devastate our village overnight.”
Residents said that there were currently 42 homes for sale in the village and that they would prefer new developments to be built in blocks of five or less.
Nigel Mills, the MP for Amber Valley, wrote a letter objecting to the plans, read aloud at the meeting by Cllr Valerie Thorpe.
In the letter, Mr Mills described the plans as an “unacceptable addition”.
He said it was “inappropriate due to the damage it will cause to the landscape. I urge you to recognise the irreparable damage this will cause to South Wingfield”.
Cllr Valerie Thorpe, who represents the area, said: “We feel building in virgin green fields is a definite ‘no’.”
Jonathan Jenkin, agent for Wildgoose Homes, said that South Wingfield “should and could accommodate some new housing”.
He said: “Development is not always popular but this is not a popularity contest.
“This generation should not delay development that will provide for the next generations.”
Cllr Ron Ashton said that the council would likely lose an appeal to the developer if it refused the plans and that with no highways objection, it could not use road safety as a reason.
He said: “If we refuse this, then during this meeting and the last meeting we will have turned down 39 affordable homes. If we keep this up people needing affordable housing will be living in tents.”
Councillors voted to approve the plans by eight votes to one against (Cllr Dave Wells).
Peveril Homes had submitted the plans for 19 houses off Wessington Lane.
It would have an access route to some of the homes off Birches Lane to the west and a house would be demolished to make way for the main entrance off Wessington Lane.
It would also have 30 per cent affordable housing.
Both schemes would involve thousands of pounds being given for improvements at the High Road play area, along with money for space at Crich Medical Practice.
Members of the public said that previous plans to build five detached houses on the site had been refused by the council and rejected at appeal in 2002 due to the scheme not being within the boundary of the village.
Council officers said that the plot would now be an infill site, due to the approval of the 35-home plans.
Residents had said in the meeting that they were in favour of infill sites.
One resident said that since 1990, more than 100 homes have been built in South Wingfield in small batches.
Paul Stone, the agent for Peveril, said: “This is a pocket of land with housing on three sides and now following the approval of the other site it is an infill site.
“This will allow development to be spread throughout the borough.”
Councillors voted to approve the 19-home plans by eight votes to one (Cllr Wells).
While leaving the council chamber, one resident shouted: “You’ll have blood on your hands when there’s an injury on Wessington Lane.”