Fight to save Buxton’s Serpentine Community Farm continues despite setback

Madeline Hall, from the Serpentine Community Farm, said the campaign would continue.
Madeline Hall, from the Serpentine Community Farm, said the campaign would continue.

High Peak Borough Council has rejected an application for Buxton’s threatened Serpentine Community Farm to be classed as an asset of community value.

The application was made by volunteers in an effort to try and protect the council-owned site, which the authority is potentially looking to reclaim for redevelopment.

An asset of community value is land or property of importance to a local community which is afforded additional protection from development - however the council has turned down the application.

A report to the authority’s Executive committee said: “The council’s officers have assessed the criteria for listing, which have not been met, and recommend that the old council plant nursery at Serpentine Walks, off Burlington Road, Buxton, should not be listed as an asset of community value.

“It is considered not to be realistic to think that the owner will dispose of the site in lots based on the current internal site boundary lines. It is, therefore, considered unrealistic to think that the land will continue to be used in a way which furthers the social interests or social wellbeing of the community.”

Madeline Hall, project director at the community farm, said: “We regret the decision and believe the process for considering it is flawed, but we carry on the campaign to save the farm. High Peak Borough Council has told us of a delay in response to our online petition.

“Due to the wider issues around the use and/or disposal of the site, borough council officers are going to work on a comprehensive options paper for consideration at a future meeting of the Executive. We have therefore reopened the petition.”

Dr Mike Monaghan, chairman of Buxton Civic Association, has offered his backing to the campaign to save the farm, adding: “The Serpentine Walks area was given to Buxton by the Chatsworth estate for the benefit of the community. If developed for housing to meet a short-term need of the council for money, it will be lost forever as a community benefit.”