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CPRE fears for precedent after green belt decision

The CPRE is fearing an outbreak of 'incursions' into green belt land after environment secretary Margaret Beckett approved a new soccer training facility and academy to be built on the outskirts of Derby on Monday.

Beckett gave the thumbs up to the Maber Associates-designed scheme for Derby County Football Club, which will be built on green belt land at Morley Road in Oakwood, after Erewash Borough Council signalled that it was in favour of the move.

But CPRE Derbyshire chairman Nick Tompkins told the AJ that he fears the case will set a precedent - the site at the moment provides a 'green wedge' between housing estates at Oakwood, Chaddersden and Spondon. 'We are worried that in the next few years there will be applications for vast housing estates, ' he said.

Tompkins also accused the club of going for a 'soft target' and making a 'financially driven' decision.

He was not convinced that two other sites had been fully explored - one next to the current Derby County stadium at Pride Park and another at the club's former home, the Baseball Ground.

Erewash Borough Council leader Cyril Stevens said the decision will put it on the map: 'We are absolutely delighted with the outcome - it totally vindicates the council's decision to approve the planning application, for which we received much criticism at the time.'

But Stevens added that he was pleased the planning inspector acknowledged that there were special circumstances. 'Chiefly that there were no suitable alternative sites for the development to be accommodated, ' he said.

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