‘Donnygate’ man revealed as director of Matlock’s Halldale Quarry plan

Property developer Alan Hughes.
Property developer Alan Hughes.

One of the men behind Matlock’s Halldale Quarry development was jailed for five years in 2002 for corruption involving a planning application, it has been revealed.

Derbyshire Dales District Council has confirmed property developer Alan Hughes, 72, who was convicted of bribing the former chairman of Doncaster Council’s planning committee in the notorious “Donnygate” scandal, is director of a company involved in the development plan.

He is named among the directors of the company which was granted permission last July for a cinema, hotel and business units on a 19.5 acre site off Snitteron Road.

This week Paul Wilson, head of planning at Derbyshire Dales District Council, said he was aware of Mr Hughes’ past and his involvement in the Donnygate corruption.

He added: “It is completely irrelevant what someone’s history is.

“We have never had any dealings with Mr Hughes. We know about him but all we are dealing with is the acceptability of the development proposed. It doesn’t matter who is proposing it.”

Mr Hughes was jailed after being convicted of two charges of corruption involving bribes to former Doncaster planning chairman Peter Birks and ex mayor and deputy leader of Doncaster Council Ray Stockhill. Hughes was able to secure Birks’ support for a housing site by gifting him a £160,000 farmhouse home in exchange for planning permission for houses on an area of farmland, which Mr Hughes later sold for £2.25million.

Mr Hughes’s son Richard said this week, “We’re not a big company, just me, my dad and my two brothers. We are a small family firm and we want to achieve family values. We play as a family with a straight bat.”

Alan Hughes is listed as a director of Halldale Properties Ltd, which was incorporated in 2006 according to Companies House, and is based at Hurst Lane, Auckley, near Doncaster. The firm was given planning permission by Derbyshire Dales District Council to transform the quarry in a scheme said to be worth around £75million.

It could include a multi-screen cinema and leisure complex, business units, a hotel and spa, a backpackers’ hostel, a retirement home, car showrooms and parking for more than 700 cars.

This week Wykeham Estates Northern Limited, which is also based at Hurst Lane, Auckley – and of which Alan Hughes is also a director – unveiled plans to build six detached four bedroom houses at the site.

The new application states that the proposed site for the new homes, on the edge of Snitterton Road, does not lend itself to business development.

The company said residential development would be a more appropriate use for the land and would help to tackle the shortage of homes needed in Matlock over the next five years.

Matlock Town Council discussed the latest plans at a meeting on Monday and raised fears about overdevelopment of the site and trees being felled.

The outline application for the six houses at Halldale Quarry is due to be decided on September 28.