Fiercely-opposed plans for an eight-storey apartment complex in Alvaston have been approved amid extraordinary scenes.
It appeared the plans for 122 apartments off Raynesway had been rejected by councillors, five votes to four.
But the chair, Councillor Shiraz Khan, then said the plans were passed, prompting residents to erupt in fury.
When the shouting stopped, Mr Khan said he had voted in favour, making the vote five-five. When the vote is a draw, the chair’s vote is adopted as the decision.
Objectors then claimed he didn’t raise his hand during the vote – an accusation Mr Khan denied.
There were calls for the application to be deferred so a video recording of the meeting could be reviewed in the morning.
Mr Khan opted not to defer and the vote was held again. The application was thus given the green light, thanks to his vote.
The decision caused fury in the public gallery, with cries of “no way!” and “it’s outrageous”.
An artist’s impression of the proposed scheme
Mr Khan struggled to maintain order and threatened to eject those shouting from the council chamber.
The controversial outcome means developer Blom International can now build 122 apartments across two buildings on the corner of Raynesway and Belmore Way, subject to it meeting a string of Section 106 planning obligations.
Called Entrada Derby, one block will be eight storeys high and the other three.
The plans attracted 437 objections. Many residents are opposed to the proposed height of the scheme, while some of the site’s immediate neighbours fear their privacy would be comprised.
At the meeting, a spokesman for the developer said the site was a brownfield site and suitable for residential development – a view backed by council planning officers, who had recommended the plans be approved.
But Alvaston Councillor Alan Graves, who spoke on behalf of residents, could not have disagreed more. He said: “This has got to be one of the most objected applications to come before this committee. This is how strongly local people feel about this application.
“The opinions of local residents should be considered – and you can’t get a louder comment than 437 objections.
“Alvaston is for housing. Where we do have flats they are on the same level as their surroundings. This development would be more suited to the city centre.”
During a debate on the plans, committee members Robin Wood, John Evans and Frank Harwood spoke out against the plans.
Councillor Wood said: “I’m opposed to tower blocks. If you look around Derby, it’s a two-storey city. To put an eye-sore in this position is just not fair on the local people.”
Councillor Evans agreed. He said: “We’ve got 437 objections here. I will be objecting to this.”
And Councillor Harwood said: “It will look like a sore thumb standing there. Do we really want eight-storey buildings at the end of our precious areas like Alvaston?”
Despite this, other committee members – all Labour councillors – voted in favour of the scheme.
Source: Derby Telegraph