New local neighbourhood plan for Whaley Bridge in the pipeline - to decide where new homes can be built
The draft plans have been drawn up by Vision4Whaley and if approved would last until 2032.
A spokesperson for Vision4Whaley said: “Without a Neighbourhood Plan in place, any proposed development in our area will be determined in accordance with the High Peak Borough Council's Local Plan, generally speaking without specific policies for Whaley Bridge.
“A Neighbourhood plan offers us an opportunity to define a level of detail which is specific to our own area.
“After an approval process, the detail in the Neighbourhood Plan will sit alongside HPBC’s Local Plan and allows us to have a measure of local control over development which occurs here.
“It means that we can really make a difference to how Furness Vale and Whaley Bridge develop up till 2032.”
Council Leader, Councillor Anthony Mckeown, said: “People from Whaley Bridge have shaped and developed the Neighbourhood Plan. It contains policies used when determining planning applications. The plans it contains have a tangible impact on how Whaley Bridge will develop in the future.
“That’s why the Town and Borough Councils want to hear what people think of the draft Neighbourhood Plan for Whaley Bridge. All comments we receive will be sent to the Examiner for consideration at the public examination later this year. So please take a look at the documents and get involved.”
First talks of the neighbourhood plan for Whaley Bridge dates back to 2018.
Since then the group wrote a draft plan and engaged with the community in 2020 to 2021.
Between June 2021 and July 2022 there was a consultation on the plan, analysis of responses and a chance to amend the details.
The neighbourhood plan covers the whole of the area including Whaley Bridge, Furness Vale, Taxal and Fernilee, some of which is in the Peak District National Park.
The community steering group is organised by a small group of volunteers and is supported and partly funded by Whaley Bridge Town Council.
Councillor Gordon Hall, Chair of Whaley Bridge Town Council, said: “We know that how our town develops really matters to the people who live and work here so we’re encouraging everyone who is interested in its future to tell us what they think of what we’re proposing.
“There are plenty of places to view the documents and ways to get in touch so please take this opportunity to help shape a community-led, shared vision for Whaley Bridge.”
The Vision4Whaley group said: “The plan seeks to positively address climate change, protect the natural landscape, encourage heritage-led regeneration and support communities of the Neighbourhood Area now and in the future.
“The Vision4Whaley Neighbourhood Plan guides future development, focused on the themes of town centre regeneration, residential development, employment, design, natural landscape, green space, heritage, transport and other matters.”
The group says the new vision encompasses the historic town of Whaley Bridge as the urban focus with Furness Vale and a range of smaller rural settlements within the Neighbourhood Area.
The Neighbourhood Plan ‘responds to the challenges these communities face, adapting to changing needs and a changing economic environment’.
The key areas are employment and housing; heritage led regeneration and conservation; environment and climate change; transport and movement and infrastructure.
In the plan it states: “Residential development outside of the Peak District National Park will be supported for the following locations within the defined Whaley Bridge settlement boundary; within the defined town centre, providing street-frontage ground floor units are in uses open to the public; brownfield sites; infill sites in the form of gaps in existing substantially built-up frontages.”
Residential accommodation suitable for older people and those with limited mobility will be ‘supported in suitable locations’ and Self-build housing and community-led housing will be ‘encouraged’.
Looking at the facilities in the area the plan states outdoor spaces that support outdoor community events ‘should be retained’.
The Vision4Whaley team said: “Community facilities have consistently been a theme emerging through the engagement.
“As the population increases within the neighbourhood area it is important for the health and well-being of our current and future communities that there is a balanced range of facilities.”They say this includes protecting key outdoor spaces valued by the communities that use them.
All spaces included in the plan are the yard to the west of the Whaley Bridge Canal Transhipment Shed; the community car space to the north of the White Hart car park; Whaley Bridge Bowling Club car park and green; Whaley Bridge Cricket Club pitch and adjoining spaces; Whaley Bridge Sports Pavilion; Furness Vale Bowling Club; Furness Vale COGS Field; Memorial Park.
The new plan aims to ‘realise the economic and community potential of the historic environment, whilst protecting it for future generations’ as well as to protect Whaley Bridge’s historic environment and support heritage-led regeneration’.
It is noted Conservation Area status should ‘positively support creative, site-specific design, rather than being a barrier’, whilst also preserving buildings that contribute to its special architectural or historic interest and character.
The group added: “Whaley Bridge in 2032 will be a sustainable and thriving local community meeting the needs of all generations and prepared for the effects of a changing climate.
“The distinctive local environment, unique character and naturally beautiful surrounding countryside will be preserved and enhanced.!
As well as being available online, at https://www.highpeak.gov.uk/article/660/Whaley-Bridge-and-Furness-Vale-Neighbourhood-area residents can view paper copies of the plan during normal opening hours at:
Buxton Town Hall, SK17 6EL; Mechanics Institute, SK23 7AA; Horwich End Post Office, SK23 7HX and Furness Vale Community Centre, SK23 7PN.
The plan is now out for consultation with High Peak Borough Council and anyone wanting to comment on the proposal has until midnight on June, 22.
All comments should be emailed to [email protected] or sent to Planning Policy, High Peak Borough Council, Town Hall, Buxton, Derbyshire, SK17 6EL