Greenfield site saved from the bulldozers

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Residents packed into Chapel-en-le-Frith Town Hall to hear councillors reject controversial plans to build over 100 homes on a greenfield site in open countryside on the edge of the town.

Barratt Homes had applied for outline planning permission to build on land between Manchester Road and Crossings Road in Chapel – but members of High Peak Borough Council’s Development Control Committee went against officer recommendation and refused the proposals.

The application had prompted strong opposition from residents with a petition of over 600 signatures submitted along with 233 letters. The parish council had also objected

Paul Stanley, representing Barratt Homes, said there were no technical objections to the development and highlighted its sustainable location close to transport links and services.

“Approval would deliver at least 32 much-needed affordable homes which will satisfy a demonstrable need,” he said.

Jo Daniels, supporting the scheme, said many young working families were in urgent need of affordable housing locally. She said the scheme could secure extra government funding.

But Ruth George said it was a sensitive site in open countryside and would go against council policies. “People here in Chapel want affordable housing and want development,” she said.

“There are two large brownfield sites within one mile of Crossings Road that are in urgent need of development.

“The Dorma site has been an eyesore for years and Federal Mogul need the investment to sustain hundreds of local jobs.”

She said the two proposed developments would bring up to 400 extra homes: “There will be no shortage of homes or affordable homes in Chapel very shortly.”

Ward Councillor Chris Pearson said it was a beautiful area and it was members’ responsibility to preserve it for further generations and not allow development that would start to encroach on open countryside when other sites were available.

The meeting was told the council does not have the necessary housing land supply for the next five years as stipulated by the Regional Spacial Strategy.

However Cllr Tim Norton said the Strategy is to be abolished and a ruling in the Supreme Court said it was a material consideration when determining applications. “I believe this application does fall short of quite a few of our policies,” he said.

Cllr Norton highlighted the reasons given by a planning inspector who refused an application at appeal for the site in 2000 when far fewer homes were proposed.

He added: “It is outside the built-up area boundary and I second refusal.”

The meeting also heard about a community plan currently being developed through Chapel Vision, part of a pilot government project, to give the community an important say in the future development of the town.

Cllr Linda Baldry said: “We are inviting members of Chapel to come along and tell us what they would like for their area.

“By allowing this planning application we are going against that and I don’t think the residents of Chapel would trust the council again.”

The application was rejected by ten votes to one.