Prior to the recent meetings of the DDDC Local Plan Advisory Committee, a sizeable amount of feedback had been taken from the public culminating in the presentation of a shortlist of the possible sites to be allocated for housing.
To the great consternation of many of those attending the meeting relating to Darley Dale and Wirksworth, many more new sites appeared on a supplementary list, seemingly plucked from the air, and certainly with little opportunity for the public to be involved in comments.
Even our local area councillor seemed shocked at being left out of the information loop, although it became apparent that these sites must have been in the internal system for some considerable time because organisations such as English Heritage had been contacted for input.
As one of these supplementary sites ( Stancliffe Hall grounds ) was given strong support from a representing agent and two councillors, within the space of a few moments the site was quickly voted in and given a high priority for development.
The site comprises about 12 acres of the green open space parkland, and a determination had been made that this could accommodate about 40 dwellings. This represents about a quarter of an acre garden per property, and since, as a rough guide, building land has commanded prices of between half a million and a million pounds an acre .
I think it safe to say that the resulting homes would be largely out of the financial reach for most local people, so hardly represents building for need.
I understood that the whole housing allocation exercise had been calculated on matching the number of new homes to the supposed anticipated needs of the local population, but this is just one example of a site being steamrollered through, unsuited to local needs and without the chance for public debate.
What started out as a legitimate consultation seemed to end in conspiracy.
It really is a smack in the
face for openness and honest public involvement.