Residents fight to save countryside

Angry residents at the Askers Lane development site in Matlock
Angry residents at the Askers Lane development site in Matlock

Residents are working together to try and save a piece of countryside from being cleared for housing.

The Asker Lane Residents’ Group was formed after Derbyshire Dales District Council revealed it was considering building 179 homes on the land off Asker Lane, Matlock, as part of its Local Plan.

The group has submitted an application the Derbyshire County Council to give the land town green status, which would prevent it from being developed in the future.

Carl Owen, of Chesterfield Road, is one of the residents fighting for the land.

He explained: “If a piece of land is used for over 20 years without any stoppage it can be used as a town green.

“Residents have used this land for over 20 years, it backs onto the convent, and there are several well established walks on it. All the kids play on it.

“The difficulty was finding people that are still around that have been using it for over 20 years.”

Undetered by the challenge, the residents’ group took to the streets to find local people who could prove the land had been used for a long time.

One such resident was Elisabeth Hunt, of Matlock, who said: “I used to live on Cavendish Road when I was a little girl and my father would take me for a walk here 62 years ago.

“It’s open space and people use it every day.

“There are birds that come here and children like to come and play on the land.”

Another issue potential developers would face when considering the land is the existance of some large badger setts on it, which by law should not be disturbed.

Carl, who runs his own robotics business, questioned why the council was considering building upon greenfield land, outside the current settlement boundary of Matlock, when there are still brownfield sites available within the boundary, such as Halldale Quarry.

“It appears the Asker Lane piece of land is crucial to the council’s housing allocation because it’s easy to build on,” he continued.

The district council is hosting a meeting to discuss the Local Plan in the Sports Hall of Highfields School, Matlock, on November 20. To register for public participation email or call 01629 761301 by noon on Thursday.