‘Ridiculous’ plan gets the go-ahead

PLANS for a children’s nursery in Chapel-en-le-Frith have been reluctantly approved - on a 12 month temporary basis – despite fears the move will cause major traffic problems and disturb residents.

Having twice been refused by councillors and turned down twice on appeal, it had been made clear to members of High Peak’s Development Control Committee that the latest proposals addressed the outstanding concern raised by the planning inspector who heard the latest appeal

Councillor Lance Dowson reluctantly moved approval, but said that while he agreed with the concerns expressed by residents, the parish council, the civic society and the committee’s hands had been tied by the planning inspector.

“This is absolutely ridiculous – but the reality is, if is goes to appeal we lose anyway,” he said.

Cllr John Faulkner said he did not like the idea of permission being granted on a temporary basis: “If we give permission and have a review in two years or one year’s time what is going to happen?

“The nursery will be open. Are you seriously going to close a nursery down after it has been open for two years? I really don’t think that is feasible.”

Mike Green, Planning Application Manager, said: “It is a trial run and if the evidence is there we will monitor it and it will make a stronger position if you are minded to refuse it then. At the moment the evidence is not there.”

But a resident, speaking on behalf of neighbours on the Market Place, said the development would have a detrimental effect on the surrounding residential properties: “We live there we know what the traffic is like. The extra traffic, of 28 children and parents dropping them off and 14 staff, will generate chaos on the Market Place.”

Cllr Stewart Young said: “If you are talking of young children under five there is no way in weather like today that mothers will be push prams up. They will pull up straight outside the door.”

Bob McKeown said: “Despite what is said about drop- offs and travel plans, it just won’t happen when you have weather like we have had over the last few days.”

Cllr Graham Oakley said: “I live next door to a day nursery. When children come out they make a heck of a lot of noise when they have been cooped up inside.”

He added: “I don’t think we should be second-guessing what the inspector might do on appeal.”

A motion to refuse the application was rejected and the application was approved by a vote of six votes to four.