Mother makes emotional plea to build affordable homes for sons in Peak District village

A mother wept as she made a plea to Peak District planning chiefs to be allowed to build affordable homes to keep her family together in a village littered with holiday cottages.

By Christina Massey
Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 1:32 pm

Sharon Bates made the emotional address to the Peak District National Park Authority’s Planning Committee as she described how her sons were the fourth generation of her family to be born and bred in Tideswell, but had been forced out due to high house prices.

She and her husband submitted an application for two semi-detached local needs dwellings on land they owned off Recreation Road, which they intended for their children.

Mrs Bates said: “My husband and I were both born and bred in Tideswell, our two children were also born and brought up in Tideswell.

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Sharon Bates submitted an application for two semi-detached local needs dwellings on land they owned off Recreation Road, which they intended for their children.

“It’s only in recent years that they’ve moved away due to not being able to afford property in the village.”

She explained they had originally bought the land to keep horses on, but family issues had prompted them to try and build the homes to enable their sons to return to their home.

Speaking through tears, Mrs Bates said: “The park is a beautiful place to live and it makes me sad that our children and other children don’t have the opportunity to stay here.

“Most properties end up as holiday cottages.”

Sharon Bates and her husband submitted an application for two semi-detached local needs dwellings

She continued: “We have submitted this application to bring our family back together to offer the support needed.

“This will then be the fourth generation of our family and hopefully they will have families too.”

The proposed building plot has previously been identified as a potential location for affordable housing, but questions were raised over the eligibility of the youngest son as he owns a property outside of the area, which makes him better placed to compete on the open market.

However councillors commented that owning a property inside the national park and outside of it were two different things because of the price differential.

Councillor Andrew Hart stated: “We try and keep villages together.”

He added: “You can go five miles out of the park and you’ll be able to afford it.

“Inside the park you may not be able to.”

Councillor William Armitage commented: “There are so many houses in the park that are second homes.”

He added that while he saw no issue with the site and the exceptional circumstances demonstrated by the family, he wanted to assess new information that had come in prior to the meeting.

Members voted in favour of deferring the decision to allow the information to be considered in greater depth.

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