The need is for smaller homes

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Isn’t it interesting that Cllr David Fearn thinks it is perfectly acceptable that he can say what he likes at council meetings, criticise members of Darley Dale Town Council and local residents, yet when a member of the public objects to what he says suddenly that becomes a “personal attack”.

It is also interesting and thoroughly disgraceful that in his repeated lecture on the need for affordable housing in Darley Dale, Cllr Fearn has chosen to remain silent on the main point of my letter – the effect this very dense housing estate will have on its two nearest neighbours, Mencap and the Greenaway Workshop. Many people in the public gallery at the Planning Committee had moist eyes as they listened to the eloquent pleas from Mencap and users of the workshop to adopt a more sympathetic approach to their problems. These pleas were totally ignored by Cllr Fearn and his friends.

Cllr Fearn is wrong on his assessment of the Housing Needs Survey. The survey shows that 54 households in Darley Dale require affordable housing. The graph of need on page five of the report shows that over 60s far outweigh any other age group, and the graph on page seven shows that the greatest need is for one bedroom flats and two bedroom bungalows. Perhaps he should read the report sometime.

Councillor Fearn studiously ignores the fact that sites for two other large affordable housing estates have been identified in Darley Dale. These will also be for family houses, so it was perfectly reasonable and logical for the town council to ask that the affordable houses at Darley Dale School should be bungalows for the elderly. This would ensure a quiet relaxed atmosphere to the benefit of all residents and neighbours, particularly Mencap and the Greenaway Workshop.

The estate as designed is extremely crowded. The developer, Derbyshire County Council, has been allowed not to provide any play facilities for a one-off price of £17,000. A bargain for them, but what are they laying in store for residents and neighbours of this estate when the kids have nowhere to play?

Cllr Fearn, in defending his tactic of firstly selling the proposal to the committee then voting against it, says that turning the school playground into a large car park will “completely erode the setting of this Grade II listed building”. I didn’t see him at the county council committee that considered the listed building application.

Why did he not put this strongly held view at that meeting, alongside those of us who care for the community of Darley Dale?

John Evans

Darley Dale