Town plan on hold over store fears

Future Development: The Bakewell Road development site in Matlock.
Future Development: The Bakewell Road development site in Matlock.

Council chiefs have agreed to go back to a public consultation over plans to revamp Matlock town centre after protestors raised fears about a proposed superstore development.

Derbyshire Dales District Council had planned to introduce a riverside quarter with retail, gateway access and pedestrianisation.

But after Henry Davidson Developments advised a different plan with an anchor food store of 38,000sq ft, food chains and retailers to accommodate online and changing retail park shopping, the council voted on Monday to defer any decision until a public consultation takes place on all options.

Council leader Lewis Rose said: “I expect a further period of consultation which I put forward as a motion which will give the public and groups opportunity to speak but also the opportunity to allow this process to move forward.”

The councillors were asked to consider whether the original plans were still viable and whether redevelopment of the Bakewell Road scheme could continue differently, or whether to abandon the original plan with new instructions for a masterplan with an additional 38,000sq ft foodstore with new jobs. Protestors raised concerns during the council’s corporate committee meeting before the vote.

Tony Symes, of Matlock Civic Association, feared “another supermarket of glass and steel that doesn’t fit”.

Many claimed a supermarket was not needed and could lead to the closure of the Co-op, kill trade and jobs and changed plans could result in a loss of council parking income. Others said developments needed to maintain the Victorian town’s tourism.