Vast 275-home development approved for Buxton

A plan of the two sites, at Harpur Hill. Photo contributed.
A plan of the two sites, at Harpur Hill. Photo contributed.

A 275-home development has been given the go ahead in Buxton, despite similar plans being refused in January.

The proposal for two greenfield sites in Harpur Hill, on land to the west of Burlow Road and the north of Heath Nook Road, was approved by High Peak Borough Council on Monday.

The application, submitted by Harpur Homes, also features public open space, a creche and a sports pavilion.

Development control committee members heard that the area of the resubmission had been reduced in size to 8.5 hectares, from 11.8 hectares.

It is proposed that 83 houses will be affordable, 27 will be retirement homes and the remaining 175 will be for open market.

Planning officers recommended councillors grant consent for the plans saying that the environmental harm would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the proposals.

Philip Dowell, of the Harpur Hill Residents Association, told councillors the plots of land were in a hamlet known as Haslin, and that by developing to 3.5 times its current size would not bring any advantages to the community.

He said: “You have received letters of objection from ourselves, from the Buxton Group and Friends of the Peak District plus much more local opposition.

“The committee quite rightly refused a virtually identical application on the site only nine months ago, because it would be unsustainable. It cannot now be considered to have somehow become sustainable.”

Ward Cllr Lynn Stone agreed, saying: “This application is in essence the same application presented to this committee earlier this year. The window dressing by the applicant in order to obtain outline planning permission is a red herring and does not make this poor application any better.”

Carl Copestake, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said developers had done their best to address the previous reasons for refusal, including pulling back the development from the highest parts of the site and retaining agricultural land.

Cllr John Faulkner opened the debate “regrettably” recommending the plans for approval.

He said: “As planning law both locally and nationally states the situation in High Peak is that the council does not have a local plan. We don’t have a five-year supply of housing. That puts us in a very difficult position for defending against planning applications.”

He added: “We would like brownfield sites built on but that doesn’t mean it’s happening. We can’t control what applications we receive.”

While Cllr Stuart Young urged councillors to “stick to their guns” and refuse the application again.

Five out of eight councillors present voted in favour of approving the plans.

Following the decision, John Rose, Harpur Homes director, said: “The long term goal is to create an attractive and desirable place to live that will benefit both existing and new residents alike. The development will be phased over several years and managed to minimise disruption and any inconvenience to existing residents.”

He added that they would contribute £130,000 towards off-site highway improvements, route an existing bus service through the site to improve access and contribute towards additional classrooms at the primary school.