Council refuses plans for 275 homes in Harpur Hill

Development land to the rear of Dolby Rd Harpur Hill
Development land to the rear of Dolby Rd Harpur Hill

Plans for 275 homes on greenfield land in Harpur Hill have been rejected by councillors, to the relief of residents.

Members of the High Peak Borough Council’s development control committee refused Harpur Homes’ application for land at Burlow Road and Heathfield Nook Road at a meeting in Chapel-en-le-frith on Monday.

Councillors heard that the proposal referred to two parcels of land and a maximum of 275 houses, of which 83 would be affordable and 27 would be retirement homes.

Plans also included a crèche, a sports pavilion and areas of public open space.

Planning officers recommended the committee refuse the application on the grounds that the development would erode an important swathe of open countryside, which contributed towards the rural character of the locality.

They added that the site was in an unsustainable location by virtue of its distance to local amenities and that its detrimental impact on the visual character of the area outweighed the economic and social benefits of the scheme.

High Peak Council received 209 letters of objection, as well as opposition from ward councillors Lynn Stone and Keith Savage.

Natural England also objected to the development stating that it risked causing an increase of phosphate levels in the River Wye, part of a Special Area of Conservation, as a result of an increase in the discharges from the Buxton treatment works.

Philip Dowell, chairman of the Harpur Hill Residents’ Association, told the committee that there was a large brownfield site in the centre of the village, which should be developed before any consideration was given to greenfield sites.

Carl Copestake, speaking on behalf of applicant Harpur Homes, said that the council’s housing policies were out of date and that the application should be granted because the site, although greenfield, was poor agricultural land.

Cllr Stone said: “Traffic would have an adverse impact on Heathfield Nook, which would then impact on the residents of Cowdale and King Sterndale.”

Cllr Savage agreed, saying: “The site is part of what is essentially a rural, farming area and to allow such a major development would change the character of the landscape forever.”

Opening the debate, Cllr Lance Dowson opposed the development, saying it would have a life changing effect on residents. Members voted unanimously to refuse the application.