Harpur Hill householders blast plans for 40,000 sq ft factory in picturesque field

Harpur Hill householders fear plans for a 40,000 sq ft factory in the middle of a picturesque field on the edge of the neighbourhood will lead to the “urbanisation” of the rural location.

Monday, 1st March 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 1st March 2021, 9:00 am

Sandra Orme, who lives on Rock Bank bordering the proposed site, described how if approved, the huge unit would be 300 metres from the edge of Harpur Hill Business Park.

Its distance from the nearby industrial park means the beautiful green land in between becoming the “thin end of the wedge” - with potentially more units arriving in future to “fill the gap”.

Conveyor manufacturing firm Avanti - outgrowing their current Furness Vale base - say the new site would create 36 new jobs and increase economic spend within

A view of the field where Avanti hopes to build its factory. Photo: Sandra Orme

the High Peak by £2.5m a year.

Avanti, preferring to stay in High Peak, say they must relocate to larger premises by December 2021 and with Harpur Hill in Buxton being “the only viable site” they will be forced to move to Stockport should the plans be refused.

Though Harpur Hill villagers agree that the firm should be kept in High Peak, they say several reports assessing the suitability of the site in Avanti’s planning application are “wrong”.

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An ecological survey submitted on behalf of Avanti states the proposed site is 500 metres from the village.

However Sandra Orme says her home on Rock Bank is just 100 metres from the proposed site.

A transport assessment says Grinlow Road - the main access road for lorries en route to the factory - is “approximately” six metres wide.

However locals say there are parts - especially near the cottages in Harpur - where the road is no more than five metres, sparking fears of congestion and pollution.

Mum-of-one Sandra, who has lived in Harpur Hill since 2002, said: “We’re talking about a massive building not at all in keeping with its surroundings.

“It’s 300 metres away from the business park and right next to the residential area – we’re all for jobs but this is so close to people’s homes.”

A High Peak Borough Council consultation over the plans which was due to close on February 25 has now been extended by 21 days.

High Peak Borough Council and Avanti have been contacted for comment.

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.