Plans to build retirement apartment complex on Matlock Ford site to go to appeal

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Developers have lodged an appeal aimed at pushing through plans for a retirement apartment complex next to Matlock Town Football Club - on the site of an existing Ford dealership.

Members of the Derbyshire Dales District Council planning committee had rejected the plans, put forward by Churchill Retirement Living Ltd, in October.

The scheme was set to bring in £11.68 million for the developer and include 32 one-bedroom apartments and 16 two-bedroom apartments for the elderly.

These apartments were aimed at enabling people aged over 60 to live independently, but with support on hand if required.

The Ford dealership would be demolished.

However, planning officers had recommended that the application, for Causeway Lane, opposite Hall Leys Park, was refused.

They said the scheme would be ‘wholly out of scale and disrespectful to the character and identity of this prominent and important part of the town centre’ and ‘would involve the loss of a building at the end of a terrace of historic commercial properties’ – and councillors agreed.

Now Churchill, which is already constructing a similar scheme for 38 retirement apartments on King Edward Street, Ashbourne, has lodged an appeal to see the plans approved.

Langford Tejrar Planning Limited is running the appeal on Churchill’s behalf.

It states that the development would ‘contribute to the viability and vitality of the town centre’.

Then firm also stated: “The appeal proposal would contribute to meeting a need for specialist housing for older people.

“The appeal proposal represents a high-quality scheme which makes an efficient use of land, and is a redevelopment of a brownfield site. It responds to and respects the character of the area, including the nearby conservation area.

“The appeal proposal offers significant social, environmental and economic benefits.

“It does not have an unacceptable adverse impact on the amenity of neighbouring properties.”

The proposals would feature 16 parking spaces (one for every three flats).

Derbyshire County Council and Matlock Football Club had both raised concerns over the application.

The county council had said that ‘no allowance appears to have been made for food deliveries, carers and family visitors etc. that are likely to take place on a regular basis’.

It said that if the car park was full ‘vehicles would then have no alternative but to reverse out of the site onto the A615, resulting in danger and inconvenience to other highway users’.

Meanwhile, the football club said that the plan could affect its ‘long-standing” hopes of developing a “four-sided” ground in order to fit with “league expectations for a club at Matlock’s level”.

It said that the plans had ‘the potential to direct surface water towards the football ground and pitch, causing serious problems”’.

A seven-day public inquiry will be held at Matlock Town Hall to decide on the application.

This will start on Tuesday, October 8.

Eddie Bisknell , Local Democracy Reporting Service