Bitter pill as beauty spot is reinstated for housing

Part of the site where the planning application was turned down
Part of the site where the planning application was turned down

Matlock residents living beside a site earmarked for up to 430 houses are devastated after a decision to remove it from the district’s local plan was overturned.

Members of Derbyshire Dales District Council’s local plan advisory committee had voted in favour of excluding the green field site just north of the town at a meeting last week.

But during Monday’s council meeting to discuss the pre-submission draft plan councillors voted against removing Gritstone Road development from the plan.

Council leader Councillor Lewis Rose told the meeting that if the site was not included the housing shortfall this would create would mean the local plan was at significant risk of failure.

He added: “It will do nothing for the reputation of the district if a Government inspector is sent in to do our job for us. We can’t duck this.”

Gritstone Road and other developments have been put forward by landowners for inclusion in Derbyshire Dales District Council’s suggestions for available land in order to meet the Government’s target for 6,440 houses in the area to tackle the UK housing crisis.

And concerns have been raised by many councillors that if the council misses its deadline to submit a plan by the end of the year then one will be imposed by central Government.

But Gritstone Road residents and members of the Wolds Action Group have fought a long, hard campaign against the development on the grounds of flood risk, over-crowded schools, increased motor pollution and gridlock in an already congested town centre and threats to wildlife.

Julie Atkin, speaking on behalf of the Wolds Action Group, said: “People are genuinely concerned about what is going to happen with traffic in Matlock and the increased air pollution it would cause.

“They do not want Matlock to be a building site for the next 15 years and we also take it with pinch of salt that developers think that can solve the flooding issues.

“They have not shown any consideration for what people who live here say - we have seen the effect of four feet of thawing snow from up on that site.”

But Mrs Atkin said the fight was not yet over and the action group would continue to make its thoughts known in the draft plan’s upcoming consultation and meetings.