At the meeting of Amber Valley Borough Council held on 23 July, Cllr C Emmas-Williams, the deputy leader of the self-styled Socialist group sprang a massive surprise during the debate on the Core Strategy. The papers which were published with the agenda showed that an additional 13 sites were recommended to provide 2,260 extra houses.
In introducing the paper Cllr Emmas-Williams suddenly recommended another site at Lily Street Farm, Swanwick where he wanted a further 600 houses to be built as part of a mixed-use development. Because this had not been notified in advance there were no residents present from Swanwick to put their views.
Cllr Steve Hayes, one of the Conservative councillors for Swanwick asked if there was to be any consultation with the residents of Swanwick before a decision was reached. He was answered with an emphatic NO by Cllr Emmas-Williams.
Members of the Council considered an additional paper distributed during the debate. This paper advised members that there was no evidence to support a mixed-use development. Members were also advised that it would be necessary to record the planning reasons for including the site at this time. This advice was completely ignored by Cllr Emmas-Williams during his summing up. The effect was that the site was included in the Core Strategy changes without the evidence to back it up. When the motion was put to the vote all the Labour members of the Council backed the recommendations.
Both Conservative councillors for Swanwick, Cllr Steve Hayes and Cllr David Wilson, voted against the motion.
Cllr David Wilson said, after the meeting, that the self-styled Socialist administration at Amber Valley were trying to avoid members of the public and were not prepared to listen to their views.