I wholeheartedly agree with the frank and observant views of John Blackwell (Don’t lose the town’s charm, Mercury letters, January 10), as an outsider but regular visitor to Matlock, about the poor quality of much of the recent development in the town, especially the highway infrastructure associated with the Sainsbury’s supermarket scheme.
I also agree that the submitted Davidson bid for Bakewell Road will discredit our town centre, do nothing for existing retail businesses and turn Matlock into just another urban settlement.
However, I feel I must take issue with Mr Blackwell’s assertion that local councillors are not representing their constituents.
Living in a largely rural district in Yorkshire Mr Blackwell will realise that decision-making in the Derbyshire Dales is likewise often perceived to be in the hands of unelected officers or councillors who do not represent the communities affected. This can work to the detriment of towns like Matlock, as the District’s largest town.
Therefore, I trust that Matlock area councillors will remain vigilant and warn mostly Tory councillors from Matlock’s rural hinterland against hasty decisions about our town’s re-development.
I fail to understand why on earth they could consider a massive superstore and budget hotel right in the heart of Matlock to be an advantage. The most we need (and consistent with the approved SPD) is a smaller, more specialist supermarket, such as Waitrose, Aldi, or Lidl with community facilities and smaller shop units in the immediate town centre, and a ‘gateway’ hotel on the outskirts of the town centre on Bakewell Road.
The last thing we want to see is a town dominated by empty shops alongside a superstore. Therefore, those who purport to run our County and District Councils will do well to listen intently to local residents and opposition Councillors on this issue, some of whom do reflect the views of their constituents.
PS: The myth peddled by Mr Evans in his letter implying free travel for councillors deserves an immediate challenge, as it is not in any way a reality. Perhaps he should seek election himself if he considers being a councillor to be so lucrative.