Darley councillors ‘livid’ over housing

Councillors in Darley Dale have expressed their anger at the possibility of more housing development in the town.

Cllr John Evans, of Darley Dale Town Council, has said he is “livid” that land at Stancliffe Hall was “so eagerly accepted” into the affordable housing portfolio at last month’s local plan advisory committee meeting – despite 82 new homes already planned for Darley Dale.

Mr Evans said: “The district councillors were falling over themselves [at the meeting] to ensure sites in Darley Dale were given the highest possible rating, thereby ensuring that sites in their own towns and villages would not be accepted.

He also believes the “banner waving” and protests from residents on Asker Lane made Matlock councillors “worry about their election prospects” and consequently demote the site from the highest priority.

Darley town councillor Sam Bettany added: “It was as if [the district councillors] were saying to themselves ‘if we need more houses put them in Darley Dale as they don’t march with banners and disrupt council meetings’.”

A Derbyshire Dales District Council spokesman has stressed that no final decision has been made about land at Stancliffe Hall – or any area of the Dales – and that it would make no sense to comment on the provisional priorities in any particular area of the district.

District council leader, Cllr Lewis Rose, said: “Here in the Derbyshire Dales we pride ourselves on listening to the views of local residents, and elected members have already responded to the concerns of the people they represent.

“Our next meeting will be the first time the local plan committee has put into the mix all the remaining potential sites in different areas of the Dales and it is yet another opportunity for local people to have their say.”

The next meeting of the local plan advisory committee will take place on January 23 at Wirksworth Leisure Centre and will make recommendations to a full meeting of the District Council on February 14.