The Derbyshire Dales Local Plan – designed to guide development in the district for the next 17 years – is just one step away from adoption.
A Government Inspector’s report on the Examination in Public of the Plan, prepared by Derbyshire Dales District Council, has ruled that it is “sound and capable of adoption”, subject to some modifications.
Local people have already had their say on the modifications in a consultation in July and August this year – and it means the amended Plan can now be put before a special meeting of the District Council on 7 December for formal adoption.
Significant new elements requested by the Government Inspector include a new strategic objective to protect the setting of the Peak District National Park.
The independent examination was undertaken after the District Council submitted the Plan to the Secretary of State in December last year following two years of preparation and extensive public consultation.
The report states: “Some suggest that people have not been listened to. For example it has been suggested that points made at public meetings have not been properly recorded or given due weight.
“However, it appears that the Council has taken into account views expressed. Moreover, positive preparation of a plan does not mean that all will be satisfied with the outcome. There is a balance to be struck between the requirements of national policy, the development needs of the area and environmental constraints.”
“Overall I am satisfied that where necessary the Council has engaged constructively, actively and on an on-going basis in the preparation of the Plan and that the duty to co-operate has therefore been met.”
Council Leader Councillor Lewis Rose OBE, who will propose adoption of the Local Plan at the 7 December meeting, said: “In well over 40 years in local government I do not recall a single issue that has challenged councillors and galvanised campaigning groups like this one has.
“What pleases me most about the Inspector’s report is that he recognises that we as a council have indeed listened to local views and taken them into account in the long and thorough preparation of a Plan that will not only meet the housing needs of the Derbyshire Dales over the next 17 years, but the business and jobs expansion that is required to ensure that our local economy thrives.”
Updated population projections have seen the overall new homes requirement over the period of the Plan reduce from 6,440 to 5,680.
The Plan actually identifies 6,684 new homes, around 3,377 of which have already been built or have the benefit of planning permission. It is anticipated a further 320 new homes will be built by 2033 in parts of the Derbyshire Dales that lie inside the Peak District National Park, where the District Council does not control development.
With a “windfall” allowance of a further 240 dwellings and 262 from section 106 agreements, the designated development sites, once approved, will need to accommodate the majority of around 2,485 new homes allocated in the Local Plan over the next 17 years to keep up with a predicted population growth of 8.4% and economic growth that could see around 1,700 new jobs delivered across the district.
Modifications to the detail of individual sites include implementing measures to deter traffic diverting through Oker and Snitterton in respect of development sites at Halldale Quarry and Cawdor Quarry.
There's also a new specification for the number of homes that can be completed at the site off Matlock's Gritstone Road - 150 - before a link road must be provided through the development from Gritstone Road to Pinewood Road.
In Wirksworth, the number of new homes allocated at land off Middleton Road/Cromford Road is increased from 126 to 150.