Plans for an eagerly-awaited housing development on a former quarry site have been submitted to the council.
Developer Groveholt Ltd has submitted plans to Derbyshire Dales District Council for a development of 586 houses on the Cawdor Quarry site, which has for a long time been a favourite site for potential housing in the town.
The current proposals are for 468 houses on the brown field site of the quarry and the former Permanite works and 118 on the adjacent green field site known as ‘Snitterton Fields’.
The developer is proposing the development be presented as a series of ‘villages’ which will be sympathetic to the site’s rural location and be known collectively as Matlock Spa. The homes will be a mixture of two, three, four and five bedroom crescents, woodland lodges, courtyard cottages and spa villas.
The site will include 78 affordable homes, as well as a cafe, 3,481 sq m of business space, a shop and country park.
Speaking on behalf of the developer, David Morley, of David Morley Architects, said: “This could be a very good example of how to create new builds in a very sustainable way close to the town centre. I think it’s a very unique opportunity.”
Groveholt Ltd is responsible for the Limestone Croft development of 12 luxury houses, which at the time of its conception was meant to contribute to the costs of re engineering the former quarry site to make it habitable, however David explained that due to other factors including the housing market crash and a legal dispute with the original owner of the site, the quarry development could not go ahead.
He said the development of 118 homes on green field land at Snitterton Fields is now needed to contribute further to the cost of reclaiming the contaminated industrial land of the quarry.
“The reason that’s been done is because the only way of making the whole of the development financially viable is to spread the cost of all the engineering works that needs to be done,” David explained.
He said the company has carried out further investigation into how much the re engineering works will cost.
When the company previously proposed a development on Snitterton Fields, residents formed the Snitterton Fields Campaign Group (SFCG) to oppose it. The group celebrated a victory earlier in the year when the council chose to remove Snitterton Fields from its Local Plan, which sets out where the authority wishes housing to be built in the coming years. The Derbyshire Dales District Local Plan was sent to Government at the beginning of the month, shortly afterwards Groveholt submitted its planning application to the council, including the Snitterton site.
Speaking on behalf of SFCG, Simon Haslam commented: “This seems like a very cynical attempt by the developers to exploit the time that elapses after the councillors have agreed the plan and before it is fully approved by Government. This seems like a calculated tactic, as the developers took none of their opportunities to argue their case alongside residents during the lengthy period of public consultation.
“While we welcome the development of the quarry itself and the brown field Permanite site, we feel it is incumbent on us to fight this anticipated application not only for ourselves but the community as a whole.
“We are intensely aware of what precedents it may set for other areas across the district if developers get approval of sites previously agreed by councillors as unsuitable and removed by them from the Local Plan. We stand, as do other campaign groups such as Gritstone Road, to ensure that our green places are kept for the enjoyment of all and not the profit of some.”
David responded by saying there was nothing cynical in the timing of the application.
“It has taken 12 months to prepare, consult and refine these proposals and the timing of the planning application has been entirely dictated by the amount of time needed to prepare the planning application to reflect the high quality aspirations for Matlock Spa,” he commented.
He said this time around the developers where proposing to only build on two of the three fields previously proposed for housing in Snitterton - leaving the largest of the three as it is to separate the new houses from the existing village and preventing Snitterton from becoming annexed to Matlock. He added that the landscaping would be done in such a way that a large amount of the development would be hidden from view.
“The ambition to accommodate more people in Matlock is a given,” David continued. “The question is where is the best place. Now our opinion is to put them close to the town centre in an environment that encourages them to use the car less.”
When questioned on the impact building 586 more houses would have on the town’s infrastructure - such as the potential strain on its schools and doctor’s surgeries, David said it was not a subject that had ever come up on meetings with the council.
If the proposals were approved by the planning committee in March the development would proceed in a series of phases - the first phase would start late in 2017 with the first homes available in 2019.
For further information on the Matlock Spa proposals, visit www.matlockspa.com
For more on the Snitterton Fields Campaign Group, visit www.saveourfields.org