I write in defence of Hall Dale Quarry and the frequent references to this site as ‘Brownfield’ and therefore expendable in the planning stakes.
I would argue that though this site meets the definition of Brownfield as ‘previously developed land’, it now should be considered a Greenfield site (land that has never been built on or where the remains of any structure or activity have blended into the landscape over time).
Hall Dale Quarry contains the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) Priority Habitat termed Open Mosaic Habitats on Previously Developed Land - not a catchy term, but describing a mosaic of habitats which can hold great biodiversity value.
Ecological surveys carried out in 2009 showed that the site supports considerable biodiversity value: great crested newts (a European Protected Species); seven species of bats foraging on the site, commuting to and from the site, and possibly roosting (all of them European Protected Species); 22 species of birds, of which one is a red listed species, eight are amber listed and two are UK BAP priority species; two UK BAP priority butterfly species; two nationally scarce beetles; common toad (another UK BAP priority species); and badger activity.
What else has colonised in the last few years since those surveys?
It could readily be argued that this site has more wildlife value than agricultural fields or dog walking fields.
The quarry in its present re-vegetated state comprises part of the green landscape around the town, the landscape and setting which gives the town a large portion of its charm.
If Hall Dale were within the bounds of the National Park it would not receive planning permission for development, it would be protected for its wildlife, landscape and geological value.
The landscape and the view across the Derwent Valley (including Hall Dale Quarry) were the main reason we (a professional couple, working locally and contributing to the local economy) bought our house in Matlock.
The inappropriate development plans for this site leave me cold. Come on DDDC try valuing Matlock for all of its assets, not just the financial ones.