Town Hall chief defends choice

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Angry residents are up in arms about the prospect of a new supermarket in Matlock as the council proceeds with a developer for the Bakewell Road site.

The decision by members of Derbyshire Dales District Council’s corporate committee to proceed with the preferred developer for the town centre location was met with ‘boos’ from the public at a Town Hall meeting this week.

Henry Davidson Developments has proposed building a 38,000 sqft anchor food store on the site, as well as five retail units, six duplex apartments, 273 car parking spaces, a hotel and restaurant.

The bid made no provisions for the other side of Bakewell Road, except to suggest it could be developed in the future.

The proposed food store, which if built would be considerably larger than the existing Sainsbury’s in Matlock, has proved the most controversial factor in the proposal.

Cllr Sue Burfoot, who represents Matlock All Saints on the district council, stated: “We don’t want redevelopment at any cost.

“Henry Davidson’s bid offers us little of what we want or need and given the ruthless approach of the big supermarkets, they would soon sound the death knell for some of our small shops, restaurants and cafes.”

Many of those present at the meeting pointed out that the proposal did not adhere to the objectives set out in the Matlock Town Centre Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which was produced in 2008 following a large amount of work by Matlock Town Council.

Among its principles, the SPD specified that the Bakewell Road development ought to create a high quality riverside quarter with a mix of retail and residential properties and a distinctive gateway into Matlock when arriving by road.

In joint statement, Liberal Democrat councillors Steve Flitter and David Fearn, said: “It is completely unacceptable that, when considering the selection of the development partner, the district council has not made any assessment of how the various proposed schemes match up against the Matlock Town Centre SPD.”

In a statement released on behalf of the district council, leader Lewis Rose said: “We chose Henry Davidson because they have a good track record in making developments happen. In choosing a partner, we had to consider what it is possible to achieve in the real–world development market. That’s why we asked all possible partners to give indicative ideas of what they thought could be achieved on Bakewell Road.

“It is a fact that, at the moment, food stores are one of few parts of the economy that are profitable. That is why four out of five of the potential developers said a food store would probably be needed to ‘anchor’ any development. A food store would create the value that enables other parts of a development to take place.

“It is also a fact that Matlock has room for more food store floor space, without affecting existing stores. The district council believes that it is important that future development in Bakewell Road enhances Matlock for shoppers and traders, giving them more not less choice.”

n Turn to pages 8 and 9 to view letters on the Bakewell Road development.