Interesting post from our friend John Porter on his blog BelperStuff
Alport & Derwent is mainly a rural division of Derbyshire County Council with main centres of population being Crich and Belper North. Referring to the Derbyshire Observatory Area Profile of Alport & Derwent we find that it comprises a population of 11,523 living in 5,035 households. These good folk usually return a Conservative Councillor but the Tory majority has been dwindling in the past few elections.
Jyoti Wilkinson standing for Labour
I would normally write something here about Jyoti; very well known in the area and a really good candidate. However, he has produced a very good video so my words are really not needed:
Oh no, I had hoped to embed Jyoti's video here but blogger says that the file is to big ......... so you can access the video here: Jyoti Wilkinson video on Belper have your say and you can find out a bit more about him here: Jyoti Wilkinson on the web ............. but I do urge you to look at his video as it is really informative.
................ and here he is supporting the NHS in Crich:
David Taylor standing for the Conservative Party
David Taylor was elected to Derbyshire County Council in a 2014 by-election. He is also of course an Amber Valley Councillor with a responsibility for housing in the current AVBC Conservative administration. You can access his page on Amber Valley Conservatives website here. I notice that he states that one of his three priorities is:
Protecting our greenbelt and preventing the over-development of our villages.
Remember the wise words of Tonto
Of course we have to check this out. We are in the middle of the consultation period for the latest attempt by AVBC Tories to deliver a local plan which you can reference here: Amber Valley Borough Council Local Plan consultation document. It is safe to assume that the councillor responsible for housing in the borough will be a steering hand to the plan so, given Clr Taylor's priority to protect the greenbelt it is a surprise to find the proposal to build on the greenbelt north of Denby, nigh on doubling the size of that village with 1,100 new houses. There are also plans to build on green field sites such asn120 houses on Belper Lane and 80 houses in Crich (where there are "environmental constraints"). Not forgetting the 150 houses being planned for Bullsmoor in Belper, a much loved green open space. None of this squares with David Taylor's priority to protect the greenbelt and prevent over-development of villages.
If we delve deeper into the Local Plan we find that it contains a watered down commitment to provide affordable housing which is desperately needed in our area:
Policy H5 - Housing development proposals on any sites of 0.5 hectares or more (or 15 dwellings or greater) will be expected to provide up to 30% of the gross number of dwellings, in the form of ‘affordable housing’, subject to considerations of viability.
There then follows a raft of clarifications of the term "viability" which does not really strengthen the council's hand in negotiations with developers ....... from page 65 onwards. Looking back at page 61 we see the council estimates of housing build but if they fail to negotiate with developers the 30% affordable or correct size of home needed for both market and affordable then we can expect the numbers of homes to be built to be something like this:
To be honest this is a projection and may or may not be accurate. If anything I may have under-estimated the number of 3 bed semis but it If I was a councillor with responsibility for housing then I would not be happy with this. Kevin Buttery the Tory leader of AVBC says that David Taylor is a strong man but he would need to be superhuman to hold developers to the 30% affordable homes target, let alone their desire to build 3 bed semis on greenfield sites. AVBC Belper councillors Ben Bellamy, Maurice Neville and Erik Johnson tabled an amendment at a recent council meeting for an increase in brownfield instead of greenfield development with a greater proportion of 1 and 2 bed dwellings ........... as advised by in independent housing needs assessments of the area and also in line with residents wishes but all the Tory councillors including David Taylor did not support the amendment.
It might be said that I am commenting about AVBC business and not DCC but it is fair to compare what a person in public life says they will do against what they actually do.
Two other candidates
There are two other candidates for Alport and Derwent:
Paul Smith - Liberal Democrats
William Macfarlane - The Green Party
I can find no references to their candidacy online other than this produced by Amber Valley Borough Council: Statement of persons nominated