A protest group has emerged as opposition grows to housing plans for Whaley Bridge over the next 16 years. The Whaley Bridge Residents’ Forum (WBRF) aims to make people aware of the scale of proposals for housing sites in the town, which could see 280 houses built here by 2028.
A key argument from the Residents’ Forum is “Brownfield before green field” – using small sites that have already been used for different purposes, such as industry or other development, rather than choosing open countryside for house building.
High Peak borough council’s public consultation is taking place in October and the consultation is due to end on Thursday 25 October.
Three members from WBRF – Mike Knowles, Lucy Padkin and Andrew Kirk – have met with Whaley Bridge Town Councillor Jon Goldfinch to clarify the progress of plans for ‘housing zones’ which began as far back as 2005. He urged them to get new members of the group to complete a consultation form in time.
There is deep sceptisism among WBRF members about ‘loaded questions’ in the consultation form. Mike Knowles called the consultation ‘a bit of a fudge’ and says Whaley Bridge has reached a housing capacity because the infrastructure, such as school and other services is not adequate.
Mike added: “We can’t have a plan where they (the planners) only give you half the answers. Previous consultations have been completely ignored.
“About 40 people attended the last town council meeting on the proposals – many of them are now part of our group.”
Lucy Padkin said: “The planners should find smaller pockets of land for new houses – 20 here, 20 there, rather than 170 on one site.” She complained that many people were away on holiday in the summer when news of the latest consultation was announced.
Local politicians are drumming up awareness of the consultation. Cllr Goldfinch, who was chair of the Town Council last year, has listed the proposals:
- 20 houses in the Wharf Road area of Whaley Bridge – BROWNFIELD
- 83 houses behind Macclesfield Road – GREENFIELD
- 178 houses between Elnor Lane, New Rd and Long Hill – GREENFIELD (comprising two sites)
The borough council is organising local consultation meetings, with a senior planning officer present as follows:
Whaley Bridge, Uniting Church, Tuesday 9 October, 6.30-8.30pm
New Mills, Volunteer Centre,Thursday 11 October, 6.30-8.30pm
Other dates in the area:
Wed 17 Oct, Town Hall, Chapel-en-le-Frith; Thur 18 Oct, Women’s Institute Building, Chinley
There is a key Public Meeting, called by the Town Council at the Uniting Church, Buxton Road, Whaley Bridge on Tuesday 16 Oct, 7.30-9.30pm. A senior planning officer from the Borough Council, Perry Wardle, will be explaining the planning and consultation process, and answering questions. This meeting is only a week before the consultation closes.
Mike from the Forum says: “We urge people to attend the public meeting on 16 October to voice their concerns”.
As previously reported, Cllr Jon Goldfinch, an independent member of the Town Council, says on this website’s Forum pages: “If you do not respond to the consultation process, then it will almost certainly be viewed as tacit acceptance of the proposals.” He also says: “The only way you can make a difference is by actually filling in the consultation questionnaire form.”
The Residents’ Forum has produced a leaflet Whaley Bridge Needs You. Contact Mike Knowles on 07814 480327 or email firstname.lastname@example.org