The row over the High Peak’s long-awaited local plan continues - as councillors last week reluctantly agreed to consult on a higher number of houses than first agreed.
At a meeting of High Peak Borough Council, members approved a targeted consultation with locals on plans to build 360 houses per year - up on the previously agreed figure of 270.
The numbers needed to be increased, members heard, in light of a report on the area’s assessed housing need so that the plan would be accepted by the Planning Inspectorate and there would not be any further delays.
Cllr David Lomax said: “I was elected to represent people of the High Peak and I am told by people in many areas of the High Peak they don’t want this large number of housing.
“It is going to be very difficult to fight but I’d rather us fight than just lie down and let somebody ride roughshod and say you’ve got to build X number of houses and I really don’t care what you think.”
And Cllr Tony Ashton added: “The most important thing for our residents is that we have housing where we want housing. At the moment we are subject to speculative developments akin to the California gold rush.”
Cllr Chris Webster said: “Why don’t we stand up? Why don’t we ask questions? Why haven’t we fixed the roads before building more houses? We’ve got to put the horse before the cart. We’ve got to have better infrastructure, we’ve got to have better hospitals.
“Everybody in this chamber tonight should be voting for what the people of the High Peak want, not what the government want.”
And Cllr Rachael Quinn added: “I hate the idea of building this number of houses. I’d really like to turn round to central government and say no but unfortunately if we did that we’d leave residents exposed in the same way people in Chapel have been exposed to development.”
Cllr Tim Norton, who represents the Chapel-en-le-Frith ward, commented: “My ward at the moment has taken the brunt of housing in the borough. If we don’t get a plan in place I can see it getting even more and more. We haven’t got the infrastructure alongside it but the inspector takes no consideration of that.”
Members also agreed a number of other items relating to the local plan including: site changes across all the areas included in the local plan to go for public consultation, and extending the plan period from 2028 to 2031. The consultation will take place between December 27 and February 10. Councillors will consider the revised submission version of the plan on February 24.