Reclaim local industrial land for new housing

I am astounded by the proposal to build on greenfield sites outside the Matlock Framework Settlement Boundary as suggested by the planning committee of Derbyshire Dales District Council. This contrasts strongly with the following two statements, which appear on the DDDC website.

‘The landscape of the Derbyshire Dales district is arguably its greatest asset which attracts visitors and tourist to the area.’

‘Development will be permitted if it makes full and effective use of previously developed land or buildings in preference to greenfield sites.’

The situation at present is that we have a number of brownfield sites that appear to have been designated, but work has either not started or has apparently been abandoned. Where are the 400 houses that were to be built in Cawdor quarry? What is the situation with Tansley Woodmills? What is the situation with Halldale quarry? Why has the Megdale site not been fully completed?

It looks very much as if the authority is concerned only with cost, or the preferences of developers, who cannot be blamed for wanting the easiest options.

It has been suggested that land is too polluted to be used. This is not acceptable.

Look at the transformation of the East End of London, where the Olympic site and Millennium Dome are on, or very close to, land that was previously polluted. I was employed in that area for 40 years, from 1961 until 2001, before returning to the area where I was born, and was involved in pollution monitoring in the 1990s.

In 1961, there were many sources of pollution - chemical works, paint works, pharmaceutical and similar works, old abandoned gasworks (one of which became an artificial ski slope) and old army firing range (now a bird reserve). It was one of the most polluted areas in the country.

If such land can be reclaimed there, why not in Matlock? Of course it will be more expensive and less attractive to developers, but should cost be the only criterion.

Councillors should ask themselves whether they want the legacy of their period in office to be a cleaner and better Matlock, or one which is despoiled by building in the open country which, as stated in the council’s own document, is one of the chief attractions for people to come to the area...

Denis Wheatley