Controversial plans to build a retirement complex in Matlock look set to be rejected after planners described the scheme as ‘disrespectful’

Planners say the scheme would spoil the area close to Hall Leys Park, Matlock.
Planners say the scheme would spoil the area close to Hall Leys Park, Matlock.

Plans to demolish a Ford car showroom and build 48 retirement apartments next to Matlock Town Football Club are set for rejection.

The application, submitted by Churchill Retirement Living Ltd, would have seen the new apartment block built in Causeway Lane, opposite Hall Leys Park.

However, Derbyshire Dales District Council says it would be “wholly out of scale and disrespectful to the character and identity of this prominent and important part of the town centre”.

Council officers have recommended that the plans are rejected at a meeting on Tuesday, October 23.

The scheme would include 32 one-bedroom apartments and 16 two-bedroom apartments – each would have its own kitchen and bathroom to enable the owners to “enjoy an independent lifestyle”.

It was set to bring in £11.68 million for the developer, with one-bed apartments set to be marketed at £220,000 and two-bed apartments for £290,000.

The firm is also behind an ongoing scheme for 38 retirement apartments at King Edward Street in Ashbourne.

It is proposed that one parking space per three flats (16 in total) would be provided due to the town centre location and the average age of apartment buyers – 78.

Derbyshire County Council says that “no allowance appears to have been made for food deliveries, carers and family visitors etc. that are likely to take place on a regular basis”.

It said that if the car park was full “vehicles would then have no alternative but to reverse out of the site onto the A615, resulting in danger and inconvenience to other highway users”.

Matlock Town Football Club does not object to the proposal, but has a number of concerns, including how the plan could affect its “long-standing” hopes of developing a “four-sided” ground in order to fit with “league expectations for a club at Matlock’s level”.

It also stated: “We are concerned that the proposed levels of the development have the potential to direct surface water towards the football ground and pitch, causing serious problems and it is essential that an adequate sustainable drainage system to prevent this is installed as part of the development.”

County councillor Sue Burfoot, Lib Dem, welcomed the development’s move to provide housing for older people.

However, she had concerns over parking, with no possibility to park outside the site if required, and also felt that a financial contribution would be expected to local GP services to help with the increase in elderly or disabled residents.

Recommending that the plans are refused, council officers wrote: “Whilst it is recognised that the proposal would meet the housing needs of the elderly for which there is a clear need, there are overwhelming technical and planning reasons to reject the application, including the impact of the development on the character and identity of this part of the town and the setting of the adjacent conservation area, and lack of parking and manoeuvring space.”

A statement from the developer, submitted with the application, reads: “The proposal, by virtue of its location within an existing urban environment and previously-developed land, ensures that the council’s aims of achieving sustainable urban development patterns are delivered.

“The development proposal maximises the use of spare land capacity on site and will achieve a significant enhancement of the vitality and viability of the central urban environment of Matlock.

“The proposal would provide much-needed retirement living apartments for older people in an attractive and safe environment, and provide accommodation in proximity to the town centre.”

Eddie Bisknell , Local Democracy Reporting Service