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Campaigners fight sale of Matlock car park for housing

todayFebruary 21, 2023 3

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Campaigners are fighting plans to sell off a Matlock car park for development, arguing more housing will only add to existing serious traffic and flooding problems.

Residents formed the Cavendish Road Action Group after Derbyshire County Council (DCC) revealed plans to sell its staff car park and adjacent playing field at Cavendish.

The authority is currently in the process of reviewing its 4,500 assets countywide and deputy leader Councillor Simon Spencer has been clear that some properties will have to be sold off in order to make the most of the council’s resources and to cut costs.

In September last year, DCC allocated £15k to its joint venture partners Develop Renew to support a business case that could see up to 30 homes built on the site off Cavendish Road.

Campaigners claim the loss of car parking coupled with the addition of around 50 vehicles belonging to the proposed new homes would cause traffic chaos on the narrow bus route, which currently serves as the only vehicular access route to Cavendish.

Campaigner Sylvia Jones commented: “It’s already congested, it’s a busy road and the bus has great difficulty going up it.

“Local residents use this car park because a lot of the houses don’t have parking.”

Residents are also fearful the car park could be used as a gateway to the greenfield site beyond that is the subject of a controversial planning application for more than 400 homes by property developer William Davis.

Derbyshire Dales district councillor Steve Wain, who is a flood warden, warned further development at the top of the hill is only likely to exacerbate the flooding problems in the valley, which have increased in frequency in recent years.

Chairman of the action group Markham May commented: “Part of what people are protesting about is if the council are selling assets then the local community are meant to be consulted.”

DCC ward member Councillor Sue Burfoot said she was initially told the authority had no obligation to consult with the public, leaving her feeling like the sale was a ‘fait accompli’.

At the end of January, a public notice was published in the Matlock Mercury inviting residents to have their say on the proposal to sell, with a deadline of February 23, however campaigners don’t believe this is sufficient notice to give residents full opportunity to have their say.

The action group is currently in the process of forming a community land trust, under which they could register the car park and playing field as community assets and have some say in what happens to them.

They have drawn up their own plans for the site, which include ten affordable homes, allotments and 60 car parking spaces, and hope to be able to make a counter offer to any bid by a developer.

A DCC spokesperson said: “The council has a duty to use its assets, such as land or buildings, in the best way possible.

“If there are any buildings or land we no longer need we have a duty to consider all the options for their future use.

“This could mean selling them, and if we do sell them we have a duty get the best value, which enables us to reinvest the money into frontline services, protect jobs, reduce our debt burden and most importantly keep council tax as low as possible.

“The car park has not been used by the county council since before the pandemic so is no longer needed.

“We have a duty to all Council Tax payers to use the assets we have wisely and if we don’t have a current use for them, we must consider all the options, including selling the land.

“The council will be exploring options for the site through its Develop Renew Partnership and proper processes will be followed as we consider the future of this site.”

Anyone wishing to object to the sale must do so by writing to DCC Director of Legal and Democratic Services Helen Barrington by February 23 at County Hall, Matlock DE4 3AG or emailing

Cavendish Road Action Group protesting against the sale of the Derbyshire County Council car park at Cavendish for housing.

Written by: NDR NEWS

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todayFebruary 21, 2023 1