Green light for controversial Derbyshire homes plan - despite opposition from  residents and councillors

Controversial plans for new houses in a Derbyshire village have been approved - despite opposition from local residents and councillors.

By Eddie Bisknell, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 16th June 2022, 11:48 am

The proposed scheme, from developer James Neville, sought to build 17 houses off Thatchers Lane and Thatchers Croft in Tansley.

This follows a series of rejected housing plans over the past couple of decades, with a plan for 19 houses approved by Derbyshire Dales District Council officers in 2020.

At a district council meeting this week, Tansley Parish Council argued that the 19-home plans were better than the 17-home scheme due to the layout and proposed access from Thatchers Lane.

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However, district councillors approved the plans after a lengthy discussion.

Cllr Vicki Raynes, parish council chair, told the meeting: “We are not saying no to building, we are saying no to bad planning.”

She said the granting of approval for a scheme with access from Thatchers Lane, for which there had been extensive opposition, was “setting a very dangerous precedent”.

A total of 23 objection letters had been filed by residents in advance of the meeting, opposing the density of the scheme, the access, insufficient parking spaces and the building of homes in a valuable “green corridor”.

Samantha Wood, who lives close to the site, asked if it was “standard practice to ignore experts” after council officers recommended that the plans were approved despite an objection from the Derbyshire County Council highways department.

The meeting was told on the night that the county council had withdrawn its objection based on the vehicle access points to the site from Thatchers Lane, but retained its opposition to pedestrian access from the lane.

Mrs Wood said she had experienced several near accidents with people and vehicles on Thatchers Lane and said it was “completely unsuitable” for further vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

She asked: “What level of risk are you prepared to accept when highways have said no? Is a vehicle collision acceptable? What about property damage? Or maybe serious injury or even death?”

Geoff Prentice, a local resident, said that Thatchers Lane is not a suitable access route and that the “green corridor” on the edge of the village should not be built on.

Alayne Howard, who lives next to the site, said the 19-home scheme protected the character of Thatchers Lane and was “much safer”.

Cllr Paul Cruise, district councillor for the area, told the meeting: “The residents of Tansley are expressing general dissatisfaction with planning recommendations and enforcement actions.

“As a community they feel that significant developments are driven through the planning process without taking into account local concerns and views.”

He said the risks of the scheme were “obvious and clear” and the proposed development is “seriously flawed”, saying “our residents deserve better”.

Richard Pigott, speaking as agent for the applicant, said the principle of development on the site “is firmly established”.

He said it was felt that the lower density of the 17-home scheme was better suited for the site and allowed for more bungalows.

Mr Pigott said the scheme would be “highly sustainable” and would include solar panels and electric vehicle charging points.

Chris Whitmore, a council planning officer, said officials felt the scheme was a “far superior” layout and had a better “interface with the countryside”.

He said the scheme would include four affordable homes with money to be provided for an additional 1.1 affordable properties off the site.

Cllr Richard Archer said: “We have got a situation clearly where we have got a community who clearly accept the principle of development, and yet we are trying to force a development that that community doesn’t want, down their throat, which doesn’t sit right, really.

“It is not nimbyism this, because we have got a community saying yes we are happy for development… and we have an opportunity to work with the community and developer to come up with a scheme that can be accepted.”

The approved scheme will include one one-bed house; five two-bed houses; one three-bed house; one three-bed bungalow; three three-bed “hybrid bungalows”; four two-bed “hybrid bungalows”; two four-bed houses.

The so-called “hybrid bungalows” are said to be one-storey homes split over multiple levels.

Three properties would access the site from Thatchers Lane.