Wirksworth Tarmac Liaison Group
Following the successful drop in event, Wirksworth Tarmac Liaison Group have submitted the following to the Town Council and District Council
WIRKSWORTH TOWN COUNCIL
Submission to Derbyshire Dales District Council
The Middleton Road Planning Application Submission by Tarmac
Planning Reference: 18/00741/OUT
This is a very important development for the town which will alter the community we represent. We are determined that if the development proceeds the it should be the best possible development and should bring as much benefit as possible to our town and its people.
The Town Council recognises that this is an outline planning application as such the applicant is asking for determination of
• the area to be developed for residential use and a for employment use, as illustrated by the parameters plan.
• the principle that the site will provide up to 151 dwellings, 4,291 sq. m of mixed employment space ( B1, B2 & B8)
• the access points into the site on Middleton Road and Cromford Road
In preparing this response the Town Council has been supported by an Advisory Group comprising of representatives of the Town Council, the Neighbourhood Plan group, the Civic Society and local residents. This group has appointed an independent chair, Jonathan Jenkin who is a planning consultant.
This group subsequently organised consultation with the people of Wirksworth inviting their comments and concerns about the proposals. A ‘Drop In’ event was held on Saturday 1st September. This was attended by about 100 people 92 of whom made written submissions. Some other submissions were made electronically. The submissions are available and a chart giving a summary of the concerns expressed is enclosed. These comments and concerns have informed this submission by the Town Council.
Our submission is to
• Respectfully recommend two conditions to be attached to any permission granted.
• List our further concerns about the development for consideration by the District Council
RECOMMENDED CONDITION 1
Affordable Housing Requirements must be adhered to and community benefits should be provided
The applicant claims that the remediation costs of the site are such that it is not feasible to provide affordable housing. We appreciate that is part of the Planning Authority’s responsibility to test this claim.
The lack of affordable homes is a major concern to the Town Council, this was reflected in the concerns of local people. 61 of the 92 people making representations complained that this was not included.
We would point out that it is contrary to the policies of the District council to provide no affordable housing. If none is to be provided because of viability, this permission could be refused and other more viable sites be used to provide the housing required in the District.
We stress that some affordable housing should be provided even if it is less than the usual 30%. If this is deemed to be impossible then at the very least a parcel of clean land should be made available for affordable housing to Wirksworth Transition Community Land Trust. The Trust constituted and working to provide zero carbon affordable homes for local people.
We would also insist that some community benefits should be forthcoming from the development and made conditions of any permission granted. These should include funding for leisure in the town, particularly a contribution towards the rebuilding of the skate park.
It is understood that conditions can be introduced to any permission that the viability study should be revised and reviewed at intervals during the development of the site. It is impossible to know what changes will occur in, for example, the housing market which could impact on the ongoing viability of the site. A ‘revision clause’ would be a safeguard.
RECOMMENDED CONDITION 2
The development should pay close regard to the Wirksworth Neighbourhood plan
The Wirksworth Neighbourhood Plan was instigated and approved by the Town Council. It was approved by a large majority in a town referendum in 2015 and subsequently adopted by the District Council. The Plan is therefore material in planning terms and should form the main plank of the response to this application.
Neighbourhood Plan Design
The neighbourhood plan anticipated development of this site. It offers clear guidance on the development of this site, in particular the plan includes a Concept Statement .
This should be used to inform the detailed design of layout and in the development of design of the units. The indicative plans submitted with the application do not follow this design statement. This plan, showing layout and house design is not acceptable for the site.
This point has been made clearly by the Civic Society who point out the danger of implying any acceptance of this indicative layout. The eventual layout must be the subject of a further application.
The plan also sets out aspirations for good pedestrian and cycling routes. We would urge that routes for public services such as buses should also be considered and shown in future detail applications
The Plan also set principles to be used on any development which are relevant to this site.
It is most important that four of the principles in the Neighbourhood plan should be included as conditions in any permission granted. This will set the parameters for the development’s future design and marketing.
The neighbourhood plan sets out:-
• Space standards for dwellings
• That the development should meet ‘Building for life’ standards. It should score more than 12? on this measure
• Allowing only primary residences – writing into planning permissions that none of the homes provided should be second homes or holiday lets.
• Reducing carbon foot print of homes –requiring that homes provided reach a higher standard in terms of energy efficiency than is required by building regulations.
The use and implementation of the Neighbourhood Plan will address many of the concerns held by the people of the town.
FURTHER ISSUES AND CONCERNS
DEVELOPMENT OF MIDDLE PEAK QUARRY
DDDC Local Plan includes development of 650 homes on the large quarry site neighbouring this development. We appreciate that this application has to be judged on its merits but would urge that it is seen in the context of the larger possible development of Middle Peak. This would impact on the transport and highways issues.
TRAFFIC and HIGHWAYS
The plans include for the provision of three new access points, two on Cromford Road, one on Middleton Road. The Town Council understands that officers in the Highways department at the County Council will make comment on the proposed layout and positioning of these. We will not comment in detail on these but would bullet point our concerns andthose made to us for consideration.
• The increase in traffic resulting from this development is a concern to many. The impact of more traffic in the narrow streets of the town centre is particularly concerning.
• “Rush Hour” from 8.30 to 9.30 and 3.30 to 5 already creates high levels of congestion in the town – we would like to see some clear estimation of traffic with the extra 150 houses
• Air pollution levels are a concern, as they are already high.
Town Centre and Parking
The development is likely to increase the demand for short term parking in the town centre which is already in short supply.
• The Town Council is working on plans to improve parking provision in the town and would ask the District Council to give this some priority if this permission is granted.
This is a major route into and out of the town. The footpath on the eastern side of the road is very narrow at about only 600mm. The proposals include a pedestrian crossing at this narrow point. While this could help move pedestrians onto the wider footpath on the western side of the road it will take pedestrians on to this dangerous narrow stretch.
Currently the speed limit is 30mph but this is frequently exceeded due to the width of the carriageway. Existing pavements are inadequate particularly on the eastern side of Cromford Road where it is only about 600mm wide. This is dangerous and unsafe for pedestrians particularly children.
The plans show that ultimately there will be eight vehicle accesses onto Cromford Road between Middleton Road junction and the railway bridge. (Two new ones to the development, Spring Close and four which give access to terraces of cottages to the east and west of Cromford Road).
• This stretch of road should become more pedestrian friendly than it is at present.
• Consideration should be given to realigning and narrowing the carriage way close to the railway bridge to reduce speeding
• This is an opportunity to realign the road at its narrow point between the new access and old lane so that the carriageway is moved westwards allowing for a full size footpath on both sides . This would require the high stone wall to be moved westwards.
• Pedestrian crossings should be provided over Middleton Road at the Limekiln pub and over Cromford Road at this point.
• Further pedestrian crossings should be introduced as planned between Old Lane and the railway bridge
This road is subject to subsidence and consequently is sometimes in a poor state of repair. An access is planned onto this road opposite the entrance to Middle Peak Quarry which is also designated in the local plan for housing. The use of these access points for the two developments would mean that the nature of Middleton road would change significantly.
• We would ask if this road would required complete re-engineering to cope with the level of traffic
• Will the Highways authority consider the reduction of the speed limit on this road following the introduction of the access point?
The access road shown off Middleton road appears to be wide and capable of taking heavier traffic than anticipated for this access. It can be seen that this road could be extended through to the Ravenstor Industrial area. This could be seen as an alternative route for remediation and construction traffic for Middle peak.
• While this is supposition, we would ask if this possibility causes the planning and highways authorities any concerns.
• We would ask that the Highways Authority considers traffic issues in the light of the Cromford Road and Middlepeak Quarry Site – it would seem that Tarmac are predicating the Routing Strategy for this 2nd site, and this should be considered and agreed by the Town.
This junction of Middleton Road and Cromford Road is presently dangerous as there is limited visibility. The volume of traffic will inevitably increase with this development. The corner is particularly bad for pedestrians. As it is close to the infant school it is used frequently by parents with small children.
• We would ask that the highway authority pay special attention to this junction and how it can be improved. While the application brings this to attention we would ask that this is examined as a matter of urgency.
Traffic Movement in the employment area
We trust that adequate parking and turning spaces for large vehicles will form part of the detailed proposals. The indicative plans show relatively small space for lorries turning within the site.
Remediation and Construction Traffic
We appreciate that if this site is to be developed it will require considerable remediation work prior to a lengthy period for construction. There is considerable local concern about this.
• We would ask that remediation and construction traffic enters the site from the Middleton road access thereby minimising disruption to Cromford Road,its role as a main entrance to the town and its residents.
OTHER ISSUES and CONCERNS
We note that reports go into great detail but thereis a holding objection from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. There is local concern about the loss of this green space, its wildflowers and trees.
• We would ask if the ecology of the area is adequately addressed and that the objections from Derbyshire Wildlife trust should be taken into account.
We note Historic England has not objected but there is local concern. The County Archaeologist is looking for more information. The submission by Bill Bevan explores and underlines concerns about the historic value of the site, we particularly commend this.
• Is the ancient monument (Nether Ratchwood and Rantor) mines adequately protected?
• Is the archaeology of the area adequately addressed, particularly has the fact that further sites are being considered for scheduling by historic England been taken into account?
Open Spaces and access routes
There are open spaces shown on the indicative plan. While it is understood these are indicative there will be open spaces in any future design and layout, Old Lane is to be retained as a footpath/bridleway. We are particularly concerned that there should not be further maintenance obligations which will make future demands on public funds.
• How will open spaces and access routes be managed and maintained? Can and will the Planning Authority require management plans for this?
There is concern about the impact on local sewerage. While it is understood this is not usually a planning matter, this impact should be taken into account and provided for if possible.
• Can and will the planning authority press for plans to cope with the drainage of this site, especially given the present poor state of sewage disposal and the impact it is having on the residents of nearby Spring Close
Proposed extension to Cromford Road /Old Lane car park
• Possible extension of Cromford Road car park – will the land be gifted and if so to whom?
• There is no Japanese knotweed identified in the reports but there is some reported to be on site, particularly in the area to form extra car parking on Old lane. – should this be taken into account by the planners?