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Last night, Councillors on High Peak’s Development Control Committee stood up for both the interests and well-being of Hadfield’s residents and the environment. In the past the committee has been accused of simply rubber stamping recommendations put before them by the Planning Department. Not this time though. The Planning Department was looking for approval for a scheme to replace Brookside Bungalow on Lambgates Lane in Hadfield with a twenty-unit apartment block. To their great credit, Committee members rejected it unanimously.

The scheme involved surrendering supposedly protected public parkland to the developer, Johnnie Johnson. To make way for the development, many beautiful mature trees would have been felled, the bungalow demolished and the site covered by a three-storey building and a car park destroying the peaceful, rural character of the area forever. Even the illustrations produced by the developer of how the finished scheme would appear were a complete turn-off. Only one phrase came to mind to describe the proposal – as ugly as sin.

A planning consultant speaking for local residents drew attention to the ludicrously high effective housing density figure entailed in the scheme, actually some five or six times the maximum you would expect in a suburban area under government guidelines. Furthermore, the proposed access to the development, to be achieved by making up the existing gravelled lane into one-lane but two-way road, would simply turn into a ‘rat-run’ for impatient motorists. Councillor Pearson added that the access was completely inadequate for large vehicles, such as removal vans, council refuse wagons and particularly Emergency vehicles. Councillor Peter Kay pointed out that, on top of all its other faults, the proposal didn’t even provide what first-time buyers wanted which was inexpensive housing, not apartments.

Given the obvious failings of the scheme it is difficult to see why the Planning Department backed it in the first place. As Councillor Harrison said, “Affordable housing, yes – but not at any price”.

Keep High Peak Green assisted residents in opposing this development. If you would like our help, please get in touch.


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