Fight is on for village future

Fearful residents are pleading with planning chiefs not to forsake their village’s identity by building on land between it and Matlock.

Thirty new homes are planned for Tansley in the next 16 years as part of Derbyshire Dales District Council’s local plan.

A majority of councillors voted to approve the initial stage of the plan at a cabinet meeting, despite the fact the location of the new houses has yet to be specified – leading some people to question whether the houses will be built on for green space, outside of the current settlement boundary

One man who stood up against the plan was Cllr Steve Flitter, because as well as being on the district council he is also Tansley’s county councillor.

He refused to give his backing to the local plan on grounds that it did not specify where the land was or over what period it would be built on.

He said: “The council was not willing to divulge the location of the proposed development.

“Tansley village is a very community-minded village. They want to be separate from Matlock.”

He stated that if the houses were built too quickly, the amenities in the village may not prove sufficient for the increased demand.

He said that the council’s refusal to disclose the location of any future sites went against the Localism Act.

“We are talking about localism and people deciding how they want their villages and towns to grow and yet it’s thrown back at them.”

Vicki Raynes, chairman of Tansley Parish Council, was also at the meeting where Cllr Flitter made his stance and she read out a statement highlighting the concerns of villagers.

Addressing the district council directly, she said: “Looking at the suggested settlements for development in your proposed local plan, it is questionable whether you are applying the criteria for the hierarchy of settlements correctly.

“One questions why Tansley, a settlement with very limited amenities, has been chosen for more development – an allocation of 30 dwellings outside the settlement boundary would seem excessive, especially in view of the fact that larger and more sustainable settlements have no quota. Is planning being lead by local need or land availability?

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“It is very disappointing that you have not provided our district councillors or the public with the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) of identified sites, which I believe you have based your proposals on.

“How can our councillors make important decisions when key information is withheld from the discussion?

“The new National Planning Policy Statement encourages local authorities to choose ‘brownfield’ sites in preference to greenfield.

“A recent survey of residents in our village has given Tansley Parish Council a mandate to oppose any development on ‘greenfield’ sites. “Residents are strongly opposed to any realigning of the settlement framework.

“There are valid concerns that should there be any further development in our village, it will not be monitored by our local authority as there appears to be a lack of any robust form of enforcement.

“This has been proven in our village – 13 months after residence, important conditions have not been adhered to on a new development of houses.

“The localism bill places importance upon enforcement – the new planning document states “effective enforcement is important as a means of maintaining public confidence in the planning system.

“It may be sensible to follow the advice in the new planning document and publish a local enforcement plan - setting out how you will monitor the implementation of planning permissions.

“In this way the community will know what parameters you intend to work within.”