Plans for affordable housing scheme rejected by Derbyshire council - as residents strongly opposed to building on green space

Plans for a housing scheme of purely affordable homes have been rejected by a Derbyshire council.
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The scheme, submitted by Bowsall Developments Ltd and EMH Group for land off Old Hackney Lane, in Matlock, was rejected at a Derbyshire Dales District Council meeting this week (Tuesday, October 10).

Despite presenting a project of much sought-after affordable homes, at a five-hour planning committee meeting dominated by talks of the need for more cut-price housing, the Hackney scheme was roundly rejected.

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Councillors made clear that while the affordability of the housing was commendable and the scheme was a welcome one, it was not being planned in the right location.

The proposed site of 68 homes in Old Hackney Road, Matlock.The proposed site of 68 homes in Old Hackney Road, Matlock.
The proposed site of 68 homes in Old Hackney Road, Matlock.

Members of the public living next to the site and councillors themselves dubbed the lane “dangerous” with “appalling” traffic.

Carol Taylor, a local resident, said those living nearby were strongly opposed to the project.

She said that traffic monitoring over the past six years had shown an increase from 230 vehicles an hour passing by the site to 400 vehicles an hour.

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Ms Taylor said the proposed plot was a vital area of green space between the two communities of Matlock and Darley Dale and needed protection.

Residents on the “narrow, winding” lane were missing countless car wing mirrors as a result of passing traffic, she said, HGVs and other vehicles regularly mount the pavement and children heading to school have to cross the road numerous times.

She called for a 20mph zone past the hospital and school.

Beverley Moss, agent for the applicants, said the council knew the “unremarkable” site – within the authority’s Local Plan (a blueprint for future development) – could come forward in two separate segments due to split land ownership.

She said the scheme would be “high-quality” and include speed limit signs and extra road markings past the site entrance.

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Meanwhile, a flood water collection tank would be built under the site to filter overflowing water safely elsewhere, which would “control the currently uncontrolled flow of water”.

Sarah Arbon, senior planning officer for the council, said the scheme would include four one-bed apartments, four one-bed houses, 12 two-bed houses (two bungalows), five three-bed houses, two four-bed houses.

The council had earmarked the “highly sensitive” site and one connected to it for 57 houses.

Previously, the council had refused plans for 18 homes on the site for the same reason officers were again proposing the scheme should be rejected.

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This was due to a non-efficient use of the site, with a “suboptimal” layout and open space areas, with “piecemeal” development of a larger plot.

She said that due to the sloping nature of the site, the doors for some homes would stand eight metres above the road level and some house types would have ridges standing more than nine metres tall.

Cllr Roger Shelley said he was “extremely uneasy” about the application and that the council needed to accept it “made a mistake” in allocating the site for housing.

He said the separation of Matlock and Darley Dale was “seriously at risk” with an existing “massive incursion into that area”.

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Cllr Shelley said: “In a different location, we would be snapping off your hands for this kind of development.”

Cllr David Hughes said the lane was “very busy and very dangerous” with “rat run” traffic coming through Darley Dale towards Chesterfield.

He said the authority should write to the council to call for more 20mph zones, particularly in locations such as Old Hackney Lane.

Cllr Sue Burfoot, a county councillor for Matlock, said: “The county council do not like 20mph zones, they don’t seem to want to do anything until there is a proven accident record.”

Cllr David Burton said: “Fields are what make this part of Matlock and Darley Dale remarkable.

“It is an important part of the area. I don’t want to see it snaffled.”