A DOCUMENT that could shut the gate to developers eyeing up green-field sites in Ashbourne has been snubbed by an examiner and councillors warn this could lead to more big housing developments in the town.
Government planning inspector Keith Holland has advised Derbyshire Dales District Council to take back the Derbyshire Dales Local Plan because of problems in the way the authority consulted with residents and in the way it weighed up the district's housing need against the constraints of the local environment.
The document has taken nearly eight years for the authority to compile and, once complete, will lay down policies for any developments in the district until 2028.
Derbyshire Dales District Council leader Lewis Rose said the authority wanted to protect green-field sites from development where possible.
He said: "The district council is currently considering its position in order to determine how to progress with the Derbyshire Dales Local Plan.
"To get our Local Plan adopted by the Government – and protect as soon as possible the Derbyshire Dales from opportunistic development – the district council may have to consider increasing the number of allocated development sites to meet the inspector's view of what is needed up to 2028.
"However, I can assure the communities of the Derbyshire Dales that any decisions to allocate further land for development will only be taken following full public consultation."
The Ashbourne Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, which was meeting today in Ashbourne Town Hall, will discuss the fallout of the pre-examination hearing and what it could mean for the town. The group wants to focus on ensuring the town's "unique setting" is preserved when new developments are discussed and that any growth in the town's population will not have a negative impact,
Part of the group's work, which will be explained at the public meeting at 7pm, will be to demonstrate how much money will need to be invested into Ashbourne's schools to meet the extra demand from a potentially growing population.
To find out more, visit www.ashbourneplan.org