Housing estate inappropriate

Shame on you Derbyshire County Council and Derbyshire Dales District Council planning committee. You have pushed aside Darley Dale Town Council, and you have ensured that Darley Dale Primary School, Mencap and Greenaway Lane Workshop for the Disabled will be surrounded by a totally inappropriate housing estate.

The town council has tried to persuade the county council that, if they had to have their way and develop a housing estate on the playing fields of this rural school, it should at least be one that fits in with its neighbours. The town council begged the county council to design the estate to cater for over 65s, ie, small bungalows. This is the largest group in need of affordable housing in Darley Dale. Making bungalows available for the elderly would free up four- and five-people houses elsewhere in the town.

This would have been a much more sympathetic scheme, fitting in quite satisfactorily with the vulnerable users of Mencap and the Workshop. But no, there is more money in houses for four- and five-people families, so that’s what will be built. After all the county council needs as much money as it can get from the scheme.

The antics of several members of the planning committee last week were distasteful to watch. Regrettably led by Darley Dale’s own district councillor, David Fearn, but closely followed by Cllr Slack (Wirksworth Ward) and Cllr Cartwright (Masson Ward), they were queuing up to lecture members of the town council and other local residents on how shameful it was to oppose affordable housing. Totally uncalled for of course; it’s just a different age group of affordable housing that we want.

Not one of these councillors mentioned the lack of privacy or the heightened sense of bewilderment and perhaps fear that will be suffered by the users of Mencap and the Workshop.

Cllr Fearn said he didn’t claim to represent Darley Dale. As the Australians would say “Too right, cobber”.

On his performance last week he demonstrated that in spades. Oh, and then he voted against the scheme on the grounds that some cars would be parked on the site. The phrase “can’t see the wood for the trees” comes to mind.

But at least when it all goes belly-up he’ll be able to say he voted against it. Get real, David, we are not fools in Darley Dale, we’ll remember.

John Evans

Darley Dale