'˜We need to protect our countryside'
Campaigners are using a key moment to urge council chiefs to shelve plans for 500 new homes in Matlock.
The proposed properties are earmarked for greenfield land off Gritstone Road and Pinewood Road in Derbyshire Dales District Council’s draft Local Plan.
As the council starts considering residents’ views on the document after a six-week public consultation finished, protesters from the Save our Matlock Greenfields campaign group are calling on the authority not to press ahead with the planned homes.
Julie Atkin, of the group, said: “We don’t want this beautiful area to be ruined by homes. We just hope the council listens to us.”
The draft Local Plan is a 153-page document which sets out planned development for the district up until 2033.
It earmarks 6,015 homes for the area, including nearly 750 in Matlock, almost 350 in Wirksworth and 300 in Darley Dale.
After considering comments made during the six-week consultation, councillors may change the plan before it is subject to further public and Government scrutiny later this year.
Mrs Atkin said the community was ‘very’ against the proposals and that 500 people had signed a petition calling for them to be scrapped.
She added: “We’re aware there is a need for affordable housing but we love our town and our countryside and we want to protect it for the future.
“We don’t want to see these 500 homes built on spectacular greenfield land and we’re also concerned about disruption and problems during any building work.
“Also, can you imagine the increase in traffic and accidents if several hundred families move to Matlock?
“This development would impact the whole of Matlock and we don’t want it.”
A council spokesman said: “We are very grateful to everyone who has responded to the current consultation on the draft version of the Local Plan – all responses will be considered by the authority at meetings on June 16 and July 11.
“The next stage will be for councillors to agree a Submission Plan which will then go out to a six-week period of further public consultation from August 11 to September 22 before being submitted to Government by the end of the year.
“At public meetings, officers and members have acknowledged residents’ concerns about the proposals for Gritstone Road, making it clear that, at this stage, it is a draft allocation in the Local Plan and that there are still a number of issues which need to be considered in relation to this site before it can be included as a formal allocation in the final plan submitted to Government.
“We are also keen to reiterate that it is a mistake for anyone to assume any of the sites eventually allocated into the Local Plan will automatically receive planning consent.
“This is not the case.
“To be successful, any future planning application will need to fully address proven infrastructure needs and meet the approval of highways and environment agencies.”