I note from High Peak Borough’s website that an application for approval of “reserved matters” has been received from the builders of the controversial plan for a housing estate cramming 49 houses on green field land and pasture around a large house, now converted to flats, at 127/129 Manchester Road, Chapel-en- le-Frith.
Outline planning approval was rushed through at the deadline for hearing the application and was prior to the referendum on the Chapel Neighbourhood Plan.
However, the neighbourhood plan, which did not include these 49 houses, had been in the council’s hands for about 10 weeks and had already been perused by two neighbourhood plan inspectors.
Apparently the council’s officers – not the elected members – decided at that stage the plan should not receive significant weighting.
A similar application, for less than half the number of houses on green fields, from the owner of a similar property just 200 metres further down Manchester Road, has been refused, not only by the council, but also a planning inspector following an appeal by the applicant.
In a previous appeal on the same side of Manchester Road (HPK/2012/06690), one of the reasons given for refusal by the inspector was the adverse impact on the spacious sylvan character of the approach to the town.
This is precisely the damage this application will have on the street scene.
Anyone interested now has the opportunity to comment through the council’s website or by letter to the town hall in Buxton, on the “reserved matters” which include, among other issues, the number of houses to be built, the layout, style, landscaping, drainage and tree preservation.
I personally feel no houses should be built on this green space which is outside the town’s built-up area boundary and visible from several public footpaths to the south, including at least one in the Peak District National Park.
Perhaps an alternative would be to build three or four houses in the large garden to the rear of 127/129 Manchester Road which, according to the plans, will be protected for the privacy of the residents – incidentally there are no such plans for the privacy of the residents of Whitestones Care Home next door.
To build on the garden would limit the encroachment south into the open countryside and thus help to maintain the council’s own policy of preserving views of the countryside from surrounding hills and comply with the government’s National Planning Framework.