Council leader believes shelving parking plan will pave the way for £24.1m Derbyshire town regeneration scheme
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The Clay Cross Town Deal Board – including NE Derbyshire District and Derbyshire County Councillors and others – decided to withdraw the parking plan which had featured a new A61 access to the scheme’s Broadleys development and a revamp of a main car park off High Street for the town’s regeneration scheme.
But following a letter from Derbyshire County Council Leader Barry Lewis to Cllr Barker urging the board to reconsider its position, Cllr Barker explained the decision had been made to avoid planning objections that could have delayed the overall Clay Cross Town Deal and that the car park access proposal may still be revisited at a later time.
Cllr Barker, who is a Clay Cross Town Deal Board member, told Cllr Lewis in a letter: “It became clear from the initial discussions with planning officers that the proposal to include an access off the A61 could be challenging and that there was a high risk that they would not support the granting of planning permission.”
He added that the officers’ main concern was the need to protect the conservation area and the loss of green space so a decision was taken at the September board meeting to separate the proposed A61 car parking access plan from the overall Town Deal scheme’s planning application.
Cllr Barker also stated the decision allows for the town centre investment to be completed, subject to planning, with a library and Adult Education Centre in the same location, the creation of a market square, an event space, and food and leisure opportunities all within a timeframe demanded by the Government.
Further discussions regarding the proposed A61 access regarding cost and deliverability will still take place at a future board meeting, according to Cllr Barker, once all relevant information is available.
Cllr Barker added: “Had the Board not done this there was a serious risk that the planning application for the whole site could have been delayed or, even worse, refused, putting the whole project at risk.That was not a risk I or the board was prepared to take. It is well over a decade since Clay Cross received any Government funding on this scale and I was not prepared to put that funding at risk.”
Cllr Lewis, who is not a board member, had pointed out support for the parking plan is shared by some other local and independent board representatives who are concerned there will be a potential, negative impact on shops and businesses as well as the proposed new town square area if the car park entrance plan is shelved.
Board members NE Derbyshire MP Lee Rowley and Derbyshire County Cllr Charlotte Cupit had also expressed disappointment after learning the A61 access parking plan was being withdrawn because they argued it would provide a direct route to a main car park off the A61 High Street and boost business for the High Street and Market Street shops from passing motorists.