Plans to demolish Chapel-en-le-Frith playground are about being ‘prepared’

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Controversial plans to demolish a multi games area in Chapel Memorial Park are about being ‘suitably prepared’ - but parish council says no one wants to get rid of the playground.

A demolition notice was submitted to High Peak Borough Council on February, 8 which states: “Chapel-en-le-Frith Parish Council gives notice that it has applied to High Peak Borough Council for Planning consent to demolish this Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA).“The parish council is currently considering whether to undertake such demolition, and no final decision has been reached. The planning consent, if granted, will enable demolition to be carried out if the Parish Council does decide on that course of action. It will be the parish council's aim to build another MUGA on a different site in due course.”

Last week more than 50 residents attended a parish council meeting over the issue. Most say they have no problem with the existence of the MUGA, and do not consider it right that its removal might be progressed to satisfy just a handful of residents.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The MUGA had originally been installed to help address anti-social behaviour, and some residents suggested removing it might increase problems.

Chapel-en-le-Frith parish council say they have submitted a demolition order to High Peak Borough Council to be 'suitably prepared' over court case. Photo Jason ChadwickChapel-en-le-Frith parish council say they have submitted a demolition order to High Peak Borough Council to be 'suitably prepared' over court case. Photo Jason Chadwick
Chapel-en-le-Frith parish council say they have submitted a demolition order to High Peak Borough Council to be 'suitably prepared' over court case. Photo Jason Chadwick

It was highlighted how it could also be in contravention of both the High Peak Borough Council’s Local Plan and Chapel’s Neighbourhood Plan to remove the MUGA.

Peter Leopard, clerk to the parish council, said: “There has, at no stage, been any decision to demolish the MUGA. Instead the Parish Council had applied to High Peak Borough Council, in their role as Planning authority, for permission to demolish, in case such consent were to be needed at some stage, as part of currently-ongoing negotiations related to a court case about nuisance.

“To be clear, no-one on the Parish Council thinks it is a good idea to abolish the MUGA; we simply wished to be suitably prepared for a range of outcomes from the court case.”

Hide Ad

The parish council has been the defendant in litigation over perceived nuisance caused to two nearby households by public activity in the Memorial Park, which the council owns. Dates are set for further court hearings during 2024.The court case in question was decided on appeal, against the original verdict some months ago, in favour of the complainants. The court directed that the Parish Council must pay the other side's costs which may be a six-figure amount.A statement from the council says: “It is unlawful for a council to set a budget in which the income plus use of the Council's reserves is insufficient to cover the expected expenditure for the year.”The budget, which was agreed by the parish council's February 6 meeting, incorporates the council taking out a £230,000 loan, repayable within 36 months, and increasing in the parish council element of residents’ Council Tax bills from 1 April 2024.

Hide Ad

This increase for a Council Tax Band D property for example will be £4.11 per month per household.

The statement continues: “The Parish Council has been striving hard to minimise the effect on residents of the litigation, and we shall continue to do so. We're disappointed this increase in Council Tax is nevertheless necessary, and we're grateful for your understanding in these unusual circumstances.”