Fields are safe for now

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Derbyshire Dales councillors have voted to exclude a controversial housing development from the district’s local plan.

County Hall’s council chamber erupted with cheers at the decision to remove the much-maligned Gritstone Road development from the document during the Local Plan Advisory Committee meeting.

Nineteen members of the public turned out to voice their concerns over this and other developments which have been put forward by Derbyshire Dales District Council in order to meet the Government’s target for 6,440 news homes in the area by 2033.

Residents have fought a long campaign against the plan to build up to 500 houses on the green field land north of Matlock.

Objections include flood risk, over-crowded schools, increased motor pollution and gridlock in an already congested town centre and threats to wildlife.

But Gritstone Road was not the only beauty spot which has successfully batted away unwanted urban creep.

Another development of 50 houses was planned for South Darley’s Snitterton Fields but was deemed unsuitable by planners and removed from the draft plan before the meeting.

Snitterton Fields, which lies just 150m to the west of the Peak District National Park, was also subject of a massive effort by concerned locals to see it saved from urban sprawl.

Many at the Local Plan Advisory Committee meeting drew striking similarities between it and the Gritstone Road site.

Councillor Colin Swindell, member for Winster and South Darley, spoke for the Snitterton Fields residents.

He added: “We ask you to follow through and delete this site from the local plan.

“I would like to make a particular point. I have carefully considered the points put forward by Gritstone Road residents and it seems this site is not too different from Snitterton Fields and I urge members to delete it from the local plan.

“Councillors should follow their consciences and vote in support of the residents of Matlock.”

A full council meeting will be held at 6pm on August 8 at County Hall, giving councillors the chance to comment.

An online consultation, available from August 11 to September 22, will be supported by public meetings on August 16 at Ashbourne’s Elim Pentecostal Church and on August 22 at Highfields School, Matlock. Both at 7pm. To read the pre-submission draft visit www.derbyshiredales.gov.uk and search for local plan advisory committee.