Well, well District Council – you have sunk lower than even I expected when I wrote to the Matlock Mercury a few weeks ago.
You have arranged for details of the proposals and the council’s meeting to consider them to be published only after the expiry of the period of notice to attend the meeting, thus disenfranchising many of the electorate and fully justifying allegations of secrecy.
It is also clear from the similarities between the submissions that the specification included a foodstore and, possibly, a hotel. Why on earth do you think these will benefit the town centre? Existing foodstores will certainly suffer and possibly close, leaving no choice for shoppers. New hotel accommodation is already being built in the town and this at a time when two hotels in close proximity to Matlock have recently closed on financial grounds. If the hotel is a Premier Inn (a chain which I use frequently) the associated restaurant will almost certainly see off the few pubs still open in the town and serving meals, as well as other food outlets.
Additionally, you have selected probably the worst of the options clearly for financial reasons. This is an out of town development totally unsuited to a town centre.
Matlock always seems the ‘poor relation’. You could have provided an attractive building housing Tourist Information, a heritage centre and much needed new library perhaps with a café in a quiet pedestrian square. You could have provided what must be much needed town centre accommodation for the elderly such as that in Bakewell and, I believe, Ashbourne. You could have provided something really nice thus encouraging the rest of the town to develop. Instead you will worsen Matlock’s traffic problems and sound the death knell for the rest of the town centre.