Residents draw up plans to build on Derbyshire council's car park and playing field - rivalling authority's own plans

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A group of residents have drawn up plans to build on a Derbyshire council’s car park and playing field – rivalling the authority’s own plans.

The Matlock Community Land Trust wants to buy the former Derbyshire County Council car park in Cavendish Road, having been allowed to use for 30 years until it was closed in April.

Forming the community group, residents in the Cavendish Road area of the town have drawn up their own plans for the plot.

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Their plan would include nine houses on the car park area, in two rows of terraced homes, with the top half of the car park retained, and allotments and garden areas, including a pond, on the playing field.

The community group\'s rival plans for the Matlock site. Image from Matlock Community Land Trust.The community group\'s rival plans for the Matlock site. Image from Matlock Community Land Trust.
The community group\'s rival plans for the Matlock site. Image from Matlock Community Land Trust.

It includes a community orchard, picnic benches, a community lodge and a community polytunnel for growing plants, fruit and vegetables.

This comes as the plot has formally been marketed for sale by the county council, with the advert detailing the capacity to build 30 houses on the site, most of which would be semi-detached, with 15 on the car parking area and 15 on the playing fields.

The land trust says: “We have come up with a balanced plan to provide affordable houses and provide the local community with some valuable parking, open space and allotments, instead of covering Cavendish Road car park with 30 houses.”

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A spokesperson for the group told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that they had approached Derbyshire Dales District Council to have the former car park and playing field designated an asset of community value.

This would give the community “first dibs” on what to do with the land, the group says.

The spokesperson said the advertised sale and proposed 30-home plans had caused “upset” with the land “highly valued” by the community and should be protected instead of being passed on to the highest bidder.

This has brought about the motto “community before cash”.

A statement on the group’s website says: “We want to make things better, not worse, for local people and protecting and maintaining the community assets of the car park and field for local people benefits and enhances the local area and the lives of local people.

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“Keeping the car park for local residents they will be able to park off the congested and narrow roads around Cavendish Road which is a real benefit for the local community.

“The playing field next to the car park is in a good location for allotments. It is open, faces south and at the moment is lying fallow. Allotments are in short supply in Matlock and we are losing allotments for development.”

Meanwhile, it is not lost on the land trust, or other community groups, that the proposed housing site would be connected to the proposed Wolds housing application for 423 homes on the hillside above Matlock, to the north of Cavendish Road.

This close relationship is made clear in the advertisement of the Cavendish Road site, with the for-sale plot marked in red and the neighbouring sprawling Wolds application highlighted in yellow in every aerial view released by the estate agents.

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The Wolds planning application, filed to the district council in November 2018 by William Davis Ltd, is yet to be decided and has seen objections from the county council itself – through flood risk concerns.