Derbyshire County Council sale of rural car park delayed amid community outcry

Derbyshire County Council’s plan to sell off a rural car park and picnic site has been delayed by at least a month as community opposition rumbles on over the loss of a valuable amenity.
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As previously reported, the authority is looking to dispose of Darley Bridge car park, on the west side of Station Road, as part of a wide-ranging review of its land assets intended to help plug a multimillion pound hole in the council’s budget.

Originally listed for a national property auction run by SDL on April 25, the car park sale now been pushed back to Thursday, May 30, where it will be listed alongside other council assets: the former Gernon Manor House care home in Bakewell, the site of Derwent House Care Home in Chesterfield and a vehicle depot in South Derbyshire.

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The combined asking prices of those properties exceeds £1million and while Darley Bridge accounts for the lowest proportion of that by some distance its value to the community has only become more apparent since the decision was taken to sell it.

Derbyshire County Council is looking to sell this picnic site and car park next month for around £20,000. (Image: Google)Derbyshire County Council is looking to sell this picnic site and car park next month for around £20,000. (Image: Google)
Derbyshire County Council is looking to sell this picnic site and car park next month for around £20,000. (Image: Google)

Darley Dale Town Council has encouraged residents to write to the council leadership and local representative Susan Hobson, in the hope of forcing a rethink.

A spokesperson for the town council said: “This is the only free off-road parking available in the whole of Darley Dale which is owned by DCC. It is well used by walkers using the White Peak Loop and anglers fishing on the River Derwent.

“Town councillors have been campaigning to stop this sale as they feel this is a valuable asset to residents and visitors to the area. We think it is a real shame that DCC want to remove this from our community and we want to do all we can to make sure that local residents and visitors to Darley Dale have access to our wonderful countryside.”

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Residents who have attempted to lobby the county council have reportedly received responses from Councillor Simon Spencer, cabinet member for budget, which echo the authority’s previous public statement.

That said: “Our Countryside Services team have appraised all of the sites that they look after in terms of key benefits including biodiversity, natural capital, public health and wellbeing and economic growth. This means that in future they will be able to focus limited resources on the sites which have the most community value.

“Although it is described as a picnic site, this site is a relatively small area of land without any facilities such as benches and tables, and alternative public parking space is available in Darley Dale.

“The plot is isolated from our wider network of countryside sites which makes it costly for us to manage in terms of time and resources, and as we have no means to significantly improve or enhance the site, the decision was taken to sell it to provide an opportunity for a buyer to put it to better use – such as a picnic site with a coffee or ice cream vendor.”

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For more details of the updated sale listing, see

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