Campaigners against plans which would see 118 new houses built on greenfield land in Snitteron have made their objections known to developers.
Developer Groveholt Ltd has submitted plans for 586 houses in total at the ‘Matlock Spa’ development - with 468 of the homes to be built on the brownfield sites of Cawdor quarry and the former Permanite works.
The Snitterton Fields Campaign Group (SFCG) group celebrated a victory earlier in the year when the council removed Snitterton Fields from its local plan, which sets out where the authority wishes housing to be built.
Derbyshire Dales District Council’s local plan was sent to Government in December and shortly afterwards Groveholt submitted its planning application to the council, including the Snitterton site.
Chief among SFCG’s concerns is that Groveholt Ltd will not deliver the development of Cawdor Quarry and the former Permanite works part of the site as the costs associated with cleaning up the contaminants on brownfield sites like these leave developers with too little profit.
A spokesman for SFCG said: “This is an attempt by the developer to hold the council to ransom by pressing for greenfield countryside to be sacrificed as part of a deal for the brownfield Cawdor Quarry and former Permanite sites to be developed. That can’t be right.
“Groveholt are claiming that brownfield land at the old Permanite factory and Cawdor Quarry can only be cleaned up for housebuilding by being subsidised from the profits of the homes on Snitterton Fields.
“They previously promised to use the profit from an earlier development of houses on land above Sainsburys (Limestone Croft) for the same clean-up - a promise they reneged on.”
But, speaking on behalf of the developer, David Morley, of David Morley Architects, said substantial costs which the developer incurred had ‘far outweighed’ the profit from the sale of houses built at Limestone Croft.
These included ‘exceptional site acquisition and site assembly costs including litigation costs from 2004 until 2012, interest charges accruing from the initial site purchase in 2001 and continuing management costs.’
Mr Morley said the developer had also contributed £2.4m towards the cost of the A6 relief road, the new road bridge over the River Derwent and the re-alignment of the railway into Matlock.
He added: “There is no risk that Snitterton Fields can be built on and the quarry will not be developed. It is anticipated that if permission was granted the council would require details of phasing to be submitted and approved before any construction at all could commence.”
SFCG are also very concerned that houses proposed for the top of Snitterton Fields are to be built on a raised platform, meaning the tops of these houses would be 15 metres above current levels.
Mr Morley responded by saying that there would be some loss of openness resulting from the reduced width of fields in the view from Snitterton but that its impact would reduce over time as mitigating screening trees matured.
To find out more about the development and Snitterton Fields Campaign Group’s fight visit http://www.saveourfields.org.