High Peak Borough Council pushed its projected Local Plan through to another stage on Tuesday 8 April. C9, the controversial building site near Macclesfield Road, Whaley Bridge, which failed by only one vote last month to be thrown out, is still there. Soon, there will be yet another public consultation, with the council hoping to have its blueprint sewn up in the summer before sending to the government.
There weren’t many words from councillors in this latest ‘extraordinary’ meeting of the council – it only lasted half an hour. There were even fewer words from Whaley Bridge campaigners. Chairman Kevin Worthington challenged Mayor Tony Kemp, who was chairing the meeting, that there was no time for questions from the public. Speaking without a microphone, Mr Worthington said campaigners had not been given time to ask questions. Cllr Kemp, speaking with a microphone, asked Mr Worthington to sit down. A voice from the public area shouted out: “What are you frightened of?”
And that was that. The councillors went through the minutes of the marathon meeting which saw the Local Plan damaged when a projected site in New Mills was thrown out. And after short, mostly procedural discussions, the meeting came to an end. The amended Local Plan will be published, with a consultation to follow.
After the meeting Mr Worthington, who chairs the group Whaley Bridge Matters, said: “We’ve just been gagged. We couldn’t ask any questions. I thought the mayor’s response was extremely poor and showed no democracy. But the fight goes on.”
He said the Gladman Development plan for over 100 houses near Macclesfield Road uses more land than the C9 site contains. That plan has to be validated within eight weeks of submission by the council,
Mr Worthington added: “We will be ready with our objections to the Gladman plan. We are also still awaiting the highway report (from Derbyshire County Council) and that may be very significant.”