Whaley Bridge town councillors will have an opportunity this Thursday evening (16 Jan) to speak on the shock plan by a developer to build a new estate of up to 107 homes on a Greenfield site off Macclesfield Road. The plan, and short time for consultation on High Peak Borough Council’s amendments to the Local Plan, has created worries that residents may be ‘bounced’ into getting an estate at their back door.
Whaley Bridge Town Council will allow the public quarter of an hour at the start of this Thursday’s meeting at 7.30pm to raise local issues. Following an information meeting last week, when the council meeting room was packed with 40 concerned residents, there are bound to be some strong opinions. The subject is on the council agenda for wider discussion.
News broke over the Christmas period that Gladman Developments wants to build the estate on the triangle between Macclesfield Road and Linglongs Road.
Government pressure on all local councils has forced High Peak Borough to look again at the Local Plan and to increase the number of new homes to be built each year. People have until Monday 10 February to respond to the updated consultation document.
Neighbours in Macclesfield Road and Linglongs Road have been formulating their arguments about the projected estate. Jane and Wayne Kitchen live on the corner of Macclesfield Road and Linglongs Road. Their immediate neighbours Alison and Kevin Worthington share the same view of the near-16 acre field which Congleton-based Gladman wishes to develop.
They said their biggest single objection to the plan was the traffic danger, with extra vehicles from the estate coming onto narrow Linglongs Road, then joining the busy Macclesfield Road. A ‘very close second’ objection is to drainage problems. A diverted stream runs through the site. Jane Kitchen said: “The field at the bottom never dries out. Before the Linglongs houses were built everything was OK. I’ve lived all my life in Whaley Bridge. An estate like this would mean Whaley Bridge losing its identity.”
Alison Worthington added: “If the estate is built, it is only a question of time before somebody is killed on Macclesfield Road.”
The four neighbours were also concerned that:
- Modern development would be visible from the many beautiful vantage points around Whaley Bridge
- Walkers arriving at the station, who then walk to the Mid Shires Way would have to travel through a new estate to reach the famous Goyt Valley
- Wildlife would be hit – foxes, deer, owls, woodpeckers and bats are regularly seen in the field and badgers living nearby cross the main road seeking food at allotments.
Jean and Dave Dusgate and their neighbour Angelika Wright live further down Macclesfield Road. From their gardens there is an uninterrupted view across the growing sedge patches towards the Goyt valley. The field has always been used for sledging in the winter.
Dave, a former part time park ranger with the Peak National Park, thought the loss of countryside was the main objection – but it was ‘ a close call’ with the traffic problems an estate would create. The Goyt Valley has been described as ‘probably the most beautiful valley in England.’
Dave added: “The planners said there would be low visual impact from the plan, and houses would not be seen from Taxal Moor to the west. That’s true. But in the east, they would be visible from the iconic sites on Kinder Scout. The national park is being surrounded by houses – this site is only 100 yards from the national park boundary.”
German born Angelika has lived in the UK for 22 years. Her late husband, a teacher in Alderley Edge, used to bring his pupils out to Whaley Bridge to study nature. She said: “He would be devastated at the new plans.”