Buxton should bear brunt of new homes

NEW housing development should be concentrated on larger towns with Buxton taking the largest share, according to a Whaley Bridge councillor.

David Lomax said by concentrating development in Buxton it would help safeguard the town’s centre for shopping and ensure developers had to invest in the town’s infrastructure.

He said if development was spread too thinly across the borough it would mean there would be less funding provided for infrastructure improvements.

His comments were made as Whaley Bridge Town Council agreed their submissions to the new Local Plan, being created by High Peak Borough Council, that will shape development across the borough until 2028.

It includes the need to accommodate a further 3,000 homes, with sites suggested as well as options for the distribution.

However town council members suggested that the number of houses needed in the High Peak should be reviewed as the census figures revealed only a very small increase in population.

Cllr Lomax said Whaley Bridge would struggle to accommodate some of the figures put forward.

“There is the high cost of transport, there is so little infrastructure and employment in the area people have to travel to Manchester or elsewhere for employment.

“Less people are wanting to move into rural areas so the figure might need reducing because of that.”

Cllr Goldfinch said in other towns there was much more scope for redeveloping brownfield sites for housing. He said Buxton was capable of absorbing more houses as there were more business and job opportunities to support growth.

Residents speaking at the meeting thanked the town council for arranging a public meeting which had been very well attended and the strength of feeling against three sites put forward for development expressed.

The site south of Macclesfield Road prompted very strong objections from the town council as the area already suffers from high levels of traffic, causing congestion on the narrow road.

“Putting any extra traffic on it will just exacerbate the problems,” said Cllr Lomax.

Two fields at Horwich End, also put forward, were also objected to with concerns over access and greenfield development raised.

A site identified at Wharf Road was supported by councillors – but only if it was to be developed to provide sheltered accommodation for the elderly or disabled.

Cllr John Pritchard said the site should be used for that purpose as it was flat and close to the centre of Whaley Bridge.

It was suggested that smaller brownfield sites should be redeveloped to provide housing in Whaley Bridge rather than large-scale development on greenfield sites.

Members called for any developments to be phased to avoid traffic congestion, for both short and long term car parking to be reviewed, and said efforts needed to be made to ensure affordable housing was provided. Calls were also made for the greenbelt to be reviewed.

The consultation closes today, Thursday October 25.