LETTER: Local Plan - Acceptance that change is needed

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The Mercury printed my letter on the democratic deficiency in the Dales, a week after checking it with the council.

The Mercury last week published the information sent to it by Derbyshire Dales District Council (DDDC) under DDDC’s own banner headline: and selected overwhelmingly text from the council and the inspector.

Today it includes a response from the objectors to the allocation at Wolds Rise (see P8).

The sad truth is that the inspector has endorsed almost 100 per cent of what the DDDC fed to him. He has selected very carefully what suits his conclusions. He has failed due diligence on several issues, that I and others can and will list.

Those of us that speak for residents were briefly encouraged by the civil servants’ White Paper on the ‘broken housing market’. The very title was a welcome acceptance that change was needed.

It reviewed, among several good thoughts, the need for greater weight for true local needs the use of brownfield land (mainly old quarries with good access) before the use of green fields, with bad access. Government also supports new villages and towns.

At that brief moment, encouraged by the ideas in the White Papers, colleagues hoped on that basis to press the council to move, radically, from ‘green’ to ‘brown’ and from those who already have homes or cash elsewhere, to those who are in need locally.

The chancellor’s 2017 budget committed to 300,000 houses per year, with very little investment in social houses, instead relying on the private sector. For example, removing stamp duty will move money from the Treasury to higher prices. Yet more of our money to be spent on homes to buy, raising values for those who can afford, doing nothing for those who (like me in 1966), could freely choose, on a single modest income, whether to buy or rent to raise a family.

Ironically, one of the few schemes, a community led new village, that Government supports in policy and funding, were deferred by the Inspector for five years. He also gave no weight without explanation to the National Park effect.

So as things stand, DDDC intends to approve thousands of houses for its preferred private sector on greenfield sites and leave the quarries unfunded.

Readers might also wish to note that, whilst DDDC has provided well for incomers not in need, and for locals in need, it has made no made no secure or actual provision for a tiny need for nine travellers’ pitches, now for ten years. That’s discrimination.

John Youatt

Community and renewables planner

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