Communities can shape future plan

Dales communities have had their say on what they like and dislike about our town and villages in a major council survey.

Derbyshire Dales District Council held Community Conversation events earlier in the year and have just published the results.

Matlock residents criticised the town’s market as uninviting, a lack of parking, inadequate station and too many charity shops.

They also called for measures to safe-guard independent shops.

The report suggested future development opportunities such as Church Street and Starkholmes Road, where there was a potential for new houses on the lower slopes of Riber Hillside, and Hall Dale Quarry, which could provide housing and businesses in the future.

Wirksworth residents praised the town’s independent traders, farmers market and leisure centre.

Parking was listed as a problem along with the number of holiday homes.

Opportunities put forward included using derelict quarry sites for housing developments.

Darley Dale residents also had their say and they listed the Whitworth Centre, pubs and the Post Office as important.

They felt any future development should be on brownfield sites and the area should be encouraged to become a more sustainable settlement through the provision of better shopping facilities.

The results of the survey will help shape the draft plan – a planning framework for the area – and highlight what residents think needs protecting and what needs changing.

Planning policy manager, Mike Hase said: “If the council does not set out a strategy for planning and for the growth of the area what tends to happen is a situation where developers have the upper hand and there is no strategy for the area to follow.

“Developers will then try and get their developments where they want.

“This document will set out the areas where we want to see growth in the future.”

Mr Hase said: “We were pleased with the high attendance at the events in most places and want to thank residents for their input.

“We will be taking their comments in to account as we take this forward.”