Residents say new homes plan would lead to urbanisation of Derbyshire village

Residents in a Derbyshire village say housing plans would speed-up the process of making it an “extension” of a neighbouring town.

By Eddie Bisknell
Thursday, 31st March 2022, 3:37 pm

Chevin Homes has submitted plans to Derbyshire Dales District Council for 23 homes off Normanhurst Park in Darley Dale, which has riled neighbouring residents.

Ian Walker, who lives across from the proposed housing site, said residents have benefited for decades from the open space now planned for homes.

The Normanhurst Park housing estate which is currently occupied “mostly by retired professionals” was constructed over a number of years from 1999.

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Local residents are opposed to the development

Mr Walker said the proposed housing site was a vital segment of green open space between existing homes and the railway line

Residents said this was a priority, particularly following the pandemic and associated mental and physical health benefits.

They also said the area could become indistinguishable from Stockport in Greater Manchester, which has merged into the metropolitan area, instead of open countryside, if housing was approved.

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With housing in Darley Dale increasing and with more development in and around Matlock ongoing and in the works, the village continues to merge with its neighbour, Mr Walker says.

Potential perils from flooding from the nearby River Derwent and from the adjacent railway line pose significant concerns, residents said.

Mr Walker said: “We are not against development but it has to be in keeping with the surrounding area.

“The assertion that this (site) doesn’t flood is absolute nonsense.

“We want harmony, we are not against development, and we do not want a load of boxes.”

A tree which sits on land which would form the new access route for the proposed development was planted by residents around 20 years ago and would be a tough loss, they say.

Beech trees on the site date back 200 years, they say, and that the site as a whole has a lot of valuable history.

Residents say flooding from the River Derwent has been more severe and more frequent and regularly comes up to the railway line during heavy rainfall.

Rodney Howlett, whose garden faces onto the proposed housing site, said: “It is completely out of character with the area, it couldn’t be more out of character if it tried.”

He said the proposed development presented potential dangers for children who would be living on the site, due to the railway line which runs along its border.

Mr Howlett suspected children may break down the fences running alongside the railway track and play on it.

He suggested children may also cross the track to get to the public walking and cycling path as a better way to travel into Matlock than the congested A6.

Mr Howlett said pollution from trains would also impact the proposed homes, saying “it would be a nightmare” and that would-be residents would have to keep their windows closed.

He said the development represented “intense urbanisation” and “ribbon development” between Matlock and Darley Dale.

Another local resident, Professor Gerard Slavin, said: “Put a housing estate here it will look like Stockport, just rows of houses, instead of a strip of green space.”

Rachael Walker, who also lives in Normanhurst Park, said she would be concerned for children on the site attempting to cross the A6 to get to school, saying it was “an accident waiting to happen”.

She said the site was a valuable “wildlife corridor” and had already been “disrupted” elsewhere in Darley Dale, with 57 homes off Bakewell Road, opposite Whitworth Hospital.

Mrs Walker says the site is host to badgers, buzzards, owls, foxes and polecats.

Archie Walker said: “It is a delicate balance between creating enough homes and recognising the mental and physical health benefits in having the right amount of green sites left available.”

He said brownfield sites, such as Cawdor Quarry, need to be developed first and that Darley Dale was “rapidly becoming a Matlock extension”.

If approved, the Chevin Homes scheme would have two-bed houses, 10 three-bed houses, three four-bed houses, four one-bed flats and three two-bed flats – the flats would be “affordable housing”.

It would have 62 car parking spaces and 10 spaces to store bikes.

The firm says there would be a negligible flood risk and would ensure that “surface water from the site is appropriately disposed of at no greater than existing greenfield run-off rates”.

It says: “It will contribute to Derbyshire Dales’ five-year housing land supply and will provide attractive housing, particularly for younger people, young families and the older population.

“The location of the site, close to town centre services and transport links, will allow this new element of the community to flourish.

“It is considered that the benefits of the proposal far outweigh any very limited negative effects.”