Council “breaking planning policy” over Buxton's Hogshaw development plans, says campaigner

A campaigner fighting to stop 124 homes being built on green space at Buxton’s Hogshaw says the council has breached its own planning rules by putting it up for sale to developers.

Wednesday, 17th February 2021, 4:45 pm

Friends of Hogshaw’s Simon Fussell says if the priceless 17-hectare piece of land is built over “then (the council’s) local plan is dead and buried —along with some of the town’s last playing fields”.

The council has allocated the land - as well as land near Granby Road on the other side of the A6 - as part its local plan to meet Government housebuilding targets.

Access to both sites - delivering 675 new homes - will be served by a £2 million roundabout together with access roads at Fairfield Common.

Flo Harris, 11, one of the many Hogshaw residents who oppose the housing development

However, crucially, Hogshaw’s two-acre recreation ground – located on the former tip – was not included in High Peak Borough Council’s 2016 Adopted Local Plan.

Speaking about the local plan Simon said: “Claims that the Hogshaw development is allowed by the local plan are wrong.

“The plan specifically excludes the playing fields on Hogshaw from development and also notes that part of the site is a designated wildlife site.”

He added that the council was committed through its own planning policy to “seek to protect, maintain and where possible enhance existing open spaces, sport and recreational buildings and land in order to ensure their continued contribution to the health and wellbeing of local communities”.

Chris Packham has co-signed a letter to the Advertiser calling on the council to ditch development at Hogshaw. Photo: Getty

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He said: “Hogshaw is exactly the kind of area protected under the council’s own local plan - the blueprint for development in the area which is legally-binding on the council.

“If the council grants itself permission for the project it will be breaking its own planning policy which promises the public it will defend places like Hogshaw.

“I am calling on the council to admit this is contrary to their own local plan and therefore pass on the decision-making to another body or abandon the project altogether.”

Naturalist Dr Mark Cocker is urging High Peak Council to abandon its plans for Hogshaw. Photo: Kate Chappell

People living on and around Hogshaw Villas Road surrounding the site - many of whom have no gardens - have described how for generations the “close-knit” community has been centred around the field.

And Buxton Civic Association say Hogshaw is “a great example of nature recovery” - with much of the old disused industrial site regenerating as secondary woodland and home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.

High Peak Borough Council say their local plan allocated 13.7ha of land in both public and private ownership at Hogshaw for residential development.

To secure funding from the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund to build a new roundabout and access road the council say they have to include “the possible use of former tip site and contaminated land at the rec”.

Council leader Anthony McKeown said if approved, the land sale would be conditional on providing “new and improved” open space and play facilities and any application would also need to deal with the remediation of contaminated land at the rec and drainage and flooding issues.

The council is urging residents to have their say over Hogshaw in a consultation running until February 26 which is available at https://www.highpeak.gov.uk/LandHogshaw.

A petition set up to fight the land sell-off has now gathered over 3,500 signatures and can be accessed at www.change.org/p/high-peak-borough-council-save-hogshaw-green-space.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.