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Planning Process Flawed on Key Derbyshire Development?

January 18, 2019 11:46 AM
By Peter Dobbs and Martin Burfoot
Martin Burfoot at Wolds farm (Martin Burfoot)

Cllr Martin Burfoot at the development site

As Liberal Democrat councillors, we are constantly reading moving letters and emails from residents opposing the huge and highly contentious proposal for 415 more houses off Gritstone Road and Pinewood Road. Some of them have seen their homes and gardens flooded on a regular basis and have been victims of a gridlocked Cavendish Road. .
However, we don't know how the District Council's planners will react and respond to the hundreds of objections to this completely unsustainable and inappropriate plan (with none in favour - see the Council website: ref 18/01242/EIA) .

It also appears that most of the experts consulted by the Council have many concerns and questions, whether on roads, traffic and access; healthcare; drainage and flooding; school capacity; or infrastructure provision. It is likely that these issues will take weeks, if ever, to resolve.

Cllr Dave Elsworth, a Chartered Civil Engineer, has raised many highway issues. Among these are the implications for air quality at key traffic hot spots in Matlock where the inevitable additional traffic from the extra houses will obviously increase the levels of pollutants like nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulates (PM10 and PM2.5). These are increasingly suspected of having signifcant effects on the health of those exposed to them - particularly those who work or live beside those traffic hot spots.
The Derbyshire Dales Local Plan at the time of the original planning application is fairly clear about planning and air pollution;

'Planning permission will only be granted for development if;

(a) it does not have an adverse impact upon air quality of its immediate or wider surroundings or;

(b) it would not be adversely affected by existing sources of poor air quality.

As a consequence of this the developer produced a long report that purported to show that there was no air pollution problem with respect to their application. However, careful examination of this report shows that their entire report relies on just TWO pieces of actual hard data. These are produced by test tube sized sample tubes that are located at Twiggs on Bakewell Rd (8m from the road) and House of Fun on Dales Road (11m from the road). The distances from the road are crucial since a greater distance will always reduce the detected concentration of pollutants that are made by road vehicles. They just measure average levels of nitrogen dioxide and are analysed monthly by a lab of behalf of the Distirct Council. No levels of particulates (PM2.5 or PM10) are being measured by Derbyshire Dales District Council. So the entire 'all clear' on air pollution appears to be supported by just two pieces of irrelevant evidence.

Cllr Martin Burfoot has also complained about the Council's confusing range of dates for representation deadlines and the failure to change the date on the 'official' site notices. Whatever the outcome, we believe that this site should never have been included in the Local Plan to start with. If approved, it will have a far-reaching impact on the lives of most people in Matlock as well as our town's environment. To help prevent this sort of thing happening again, we need more Liberal Democrat councillors, so if you think you could be a Councillor and provide a breath of fresh air, please let us know. IT IS TIME FOR OUR COUNCILS TO REACH OUT AND LISTEN TO WHAT YOU WANT