A council is seeking residents’ views on an idea to build a new village in Derbyshire to help meet long-term housing needs.
Darley Dale Town Council (DDTC) says the move would stop existing towns and villages from being ‘squeezed’ by new homes.
The authority’s proposal comes a week after Derbyshire Dales District Council published its draft Local Plan, which sets out planned development in the area up to 2033.
The 153-page document earmarks 6,015 homes for the district, including nearly 750 in Matlock, almost 350 in Wirksworth and 300 in Darley Dale.
DDTC has now published its alternative Local Plan – which suggests building a new village to the south of the district – and is urging residents to take part in a questionnaire on its proposal.
John Evans, chair of DDTC, said: “This plan says, quite simply, stop squeezing existing towns and villages until they burst – instead build a new village with a school, medical centre, shopping centre and leisure centre.
“It’s got a lot of support in the area and we’re urging residents from all over the Derbyshire Dales to have their say in our survey, the results of which will be presented to the district council.”
Mr Evans suggested the new village could be built between Ashbourne and the A50 and include up to 5,000 homes.
He added: “By building a new village in the south of the district, we would relieve the pressure on the A6 and towns and villages near it and bring added prosperity to that part of the area.
“We’ve spoken to developers – including the biggest housebuilder in the country – who have expressed a warm interest in participating in this project.”
To take part in DDTC’s questionnaire, visit www.darleydale.gov.uk
A district council spokesman said: “Since 2009 the district council has on at least five separate occasions undertaken a Call for Sites appeal, where we have specifically asked landowners, developers, agents and town and parish councils to submit locations to us for consideration for inclusion in the Local Plan.
“Despite promoting this appeal through advertisements placed in local newspapers including the Matlock Mercury, media releases, digital media and a Local Plan publication posted to every household in the Derbyshire Dales, no landowner has come forward with a site which could accommodate a new garden village. We would add that relevant contacts from the district council’s Local Plan database were also notified either by letter or email.
“So far this year we have considered a total of 249 potential development sites, of which 32 are included in the draft Local Plan. Seven-hundred-and-seventy-nine pages of reports have been written and six committee meetings have been attended by 224 members of public with 13 hours of debate and presentation.
“At the same time landowners, agents and developers who had previously promoted sites were asked to confirm whether those were still available. Other potential sources were also investigated.
“So the search for potential housing sites has been comprehensive and we are currently encouraging people to comment on the Local Plan draft at www.derbyshiredales.gov.uk/LocalPlan as part of a process which will hopefully see a final version submitted for Government inspection by the end of the year. In short, if there are any landowners out there who have missed our repeated appeals to come forward with sites for a new settlement, then now is the time to do it.”
On the streets of Darley Dale, Jenni Fellows, of Matlock, said: “More homes are needed but what worries me is more people means more pressure on things like the local school and the local doctors’ surgery. I welcome the idea of a new village being built in the south of the district if those vital services are also provided.”
Michelle Waters, of Two Dales, works as a butcher at Wrights Farm Shop in the town. She said: “It’s a big topic of discussion here. At the end of the day, we need more housing but it comes with a lot of problems – for example, the roads are already chock-a-block here. I dread to think what they’d be like if 300 homes are built and potentially thousands of people move to the town. I welcome the idea of building a new village and I’m pleased to hear the town council is pushing for this.”
Pamela Wood, of Darley Dale, said: “Do we really need any more homes here? I think Darley Dale is at bursting point.”
Her husband Richard added: “Look at all the homes up for rent around here. Surely they should be occupied first before the district council considers land for more properties? It all seems foolish to me.”