Too much, too fast, says new residents’ group

The Whaley Bridge Residents Forum meet to plan their opposition to house building plans.
The Whaley Bridge Residents Forum meet to plan their opposition to house building plans.

Well over 100 people attended a packed public meeting on Tuesday night to raise concerns over proposals that could see hundreds of new homes built in Whaley Bridge.

Two large parcels of greenfield land, south of Macclesfield Road and at Horwich End, have been put forward for almost 250 homes as part of the Local Plan.

But residents are calling for a number of brownfield sites, that would have less of an impact on the village, to be looked at first.

Officers from High Peak Borough Council were questioned at length about how the sites were identified and why others had been omitted.

Among those attending the meeting were members of a new residents’ group – Whaley Bridge Residents’ Forum.

They have got together to express many residents’ concerns, not just about the plans for their area but the rest of the High Peak and the effect so many new homes could have.

The group strongly objects to the current proposals to increase the sizes of small towns and villages across the High Peak and at the same time destroying huge swathes of pristine greenfields close to the National Park Boundary.

A spokeswoman for the group said: “It is not just about the amount of houses to be built: it is about the traffic and the impact of such a high increase in population.

“People struggle to get doctors appointments as it is. There are only ten places available in the two primary schools.”

“Any kind of increase in the population is quite detrimental to the area.”

Instead, smaller developments have been suggested to provide a steady stream of housing rather than a couple of large scale developments.

The Local Plan currently being developed will shape future developments across the borough until 2028.

Land needs to be found for at least 3,000 new homes, with various sites suggested.

However, the Forum have also called for the number of new homes being forced on the area to be questioned at the highest level.

l RESIDENTS have one week left to have their say in the consultation on sites for housing, employment and leisure development.

To view the options document, people can visit the High Peak Borough Council website www.highpeak.gov.uk, or call in at Buxton Town Hall or Glossop Municipal Buildings; or visit the Buxton, Glossop, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Hadfield, Hayfield, New Mills or Whaley Bridge libraries.

The documents include maps showing the specific sites that are being considered as options for housing development.

Council leader Caitlin Bisknell has urged people to have their say: “The Local Plan is a vitally-important document that will determine how the High Peak develops for the best part of two decades.

“If you want to influence the allocation of land for housing, employment and leisure – and our policies to protect the countryside – now is the time to make your voice heard.”

A series of drop-in sessions have been held across the High Peak – with two yet to take place.

Tonight, Thursday October 18, a drop-in session at which the public can see the options and talk with planning officers will take place between 6.30pm and 8.30pm, at Chinley Women’s Institute.

A similar drop-in session is planned for Buxton on October 22 in the Octagon Lounge, Pavilion Gardens, Buxton from noon to 3pm.

Consultees have until Thursday, October 25 to express their views by clicking here; e-mailing LDF@highpeak.gov.uk; or writing to Planning Policy, High Peak Borough Council, Town Hall, Market Place, Buxton, Derbyshire, SK17 6EL.