Campaigners in Whaley Bridge, trying to stop housing development in a beautiful Greenfield site only 100 metres from the Peak District national park boundary, staged a march through the town to raise awareness.
Nearly 200 people – and a lot of dogs – left the train station in a flurry of red posters to walk through the town centre, then up Macclesfield Road to join the Midshires Way, which crosses the site where developer Gladman proposes to build a 107 homes estate.
Whaley Bridge Town Council has already delighted the campaigners by announcing it is “strongly opposed to the proposal to develop land off Linglongs Road, due to the adverse impact on the landscape, damage to the Water Hydrology of the River Goyt catchment area, chronic traffic congestion and inadequate pavements on Macclesfield Road and loss of amenity.”
Kevin Worthington, chair of the campaigners’ group Whaley Bridge Matters, was cheered when he told the marchers in the boggy site that their protests could stop the plan. He revealed that more than 250 letters from Whaley Bridge people opposing the plan were being taken to High Peak Borough Council’s office in Buxton on Monday, 10 February, last day for objections.
A consultation by the borough council has been running into their efforts to produce a new Local Plan. Under government pressure, the council has been told to increase the number of houses built in the High Peak.
Mr Worthingon said: “We urge people right up until the last moment to make their views known. Everybody wants to stop the Gladman plan before much more time passes by. Houses in such a lovely place, on the very approach to the national park, would be wrong.
“Our march was very enjoyable. We had sunny weather, despite the terrible forecast, and though it was cold people – and the dogs – enjoyed the walk, It was a very good turnout.”
One little boy from a house on Macclesfield Road used the march as a means to campaign himself. His mum had a makeshift banner “Don’t destroy our crocodile.” A fallen tree, with a passing resemblance to a crocodile, is one of his favourite places in the field.
Grandmother Kath Thomson, who uses a mobilty scooter – travelling up and down Macclesfield Road, with its narrow pavements – is a campaigner. She has been drawing attention to the serious traffic problems that could be created by 150-170 extra cars from an estate.
Her daughter Shannon, 15, is also a member of the campaign group. She and her mum were interviewed by the BBC, at the end of the march. Shannon has already spoken up in front of nearly 250 people at a public meeting, saying: “Whaley Bridge would be getting too urban – wherever will we go for peace and quiet?”
Kath’s granddaughter Evie, who is three in April, joined gran on her scooter for the whole march. She slept for for part of the journey, but was wide awake when gran answered the BBC’s questions.
Chair Kevin Worthington, 01663 732058 or 07975 886 026. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary Angelika Wright. Email: email@example.com