The DDDC local plan advisory committee meeting was held at the Highfield School sports hall on November 20, to accommodate several hundred residents. This I believe set a precedent, showing the feelings of the local residents, mainly against the proposals to build on Green Field sites. Most of us were unable to participate and were there only to witness the vote to approve the settlement framework boundaries, the result of which I believe was predictable before the meeting.
On arrival, we were handed a thick file of technical data which the planning staff knew inside out and which the councillors had seen before hand. We were desperately trying to follow the facts and figures, which most of us were seeing for the first time.
Many of us were patiently waiting for the planners and councillors to tell us that in view of the overwhelming objections, they would not be building on the greenfield sites, but this did not vaguely happen. I wanted to ask the planners and councillors if they had recently walked along Asker Lane on a sunny day and looked at the view down the hill, over the valley and up to Riber, and if so, how they could possibly consider putting their names to spoiling this area of natural beauty and Matlock for ever.
They produced figures from online responses, sometimes showing a small percentage in favour of proposals. Many residents in my area are in the retired bracket and many of us don’t have access to, or use the online facility. One chart gave a desperate percentage result from just 24 online responses.
There was no mention of the ‘smaller sites’ option. The Peak Park Planning do not seem to be taking a fair share of the burden. Developers seem to be having a say even at this early stage. I was under the impression that the planners and councillors were responsible solely for the interests of the residents.
The councillors said they wanted to preserve Matlock and the Dales and we now wait in eager anticipation for them to do so.
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