The Green Party believes that the following should be taken into account when considering the application to develop a new superstore in Belper. The Development Brief should:
- Explicitly require a Retail Impact Assessment to be carried out
- Require that this Assessment be independently checked, including the use of information gained from reviews of Retail Impact Assessments used to support similar developments
- Require that any development leads to a net increase in Full Time Employment jobs, not just for the area covered by the Development Brief, but at least for the area defined as Belper town centre.
There are several references to sustainability in the Draft Development Brief, but none specifically refer to traffic. Sections 8.9 to 8.10 blatantly leave it open for a developer such as Tesco to claim that they are using the very latest in building design, while omitting any reference to the increased traffic caused by a development such as a superstore.
There are several references in the Draft Development Brief to the “congested” A6, yet there is no evidence to support this rather emotive term.
The A6 is congested at certain times on summer Sundays (by people travelling to and from Derbyshire Dales and The Peak District), and on weekdays when a lorry is making a delivery. Such congestion is temporary, and more easily (and cheaply) dealt with by other means than by building another road.
Whereas drivers travelling by car to Derby during the week experience real congestion on the approach to Derby because of the sheer volume of traffic, traffic volume in Belper is not currently a problem. But a superstore, by its very nature, requires a huge amount of customer traffic to support it. That traffic will come from both directions along the A6 (causing real congestion with concomitant pollution at the Morrison’s roundabout and The Triangle) and/or the east side of Belper (in which case it will have to make its way along John O’Gaunt’s Way, Nottingham Road and New Road, or Far Laund, Chesterfield Road, Church Lane, Field Lane and Bridge St.). Add to this the delivery lorries required to keep the superstore stocked with goods which will not be locally sourced. How does this fit with the Borough Council’s duties under the Climate Change Act?
The Development Brief should:
- Be supported by evidence of present levels of traffic on the A6.
- Require a Traffic Impact Assessment which assesses the likely effects of any proposed development not only within the vicinity of the superstore, but on all roads likely to be affected.
Such an assessment should assess the likely traffic and pollution effects of all options for developing the site. It should:
- Make explicit reference to the need to comply with the requirements of the Climate Change Act.
- Require that any traffic increase is kept to a minimum.