Site A - Future Wirksworth

September 2013 consultation
Welcome to the consultation
The preparation of the Wirksworth Neighbourhood Plan has
been in progress for 24 months , having started in ... 2011?. We
are now approaching the completion of a draft version for
November 2013 prior to a statutory public consultation on a
Neighbourhood Plan document in January 2014.
Listening to the views of the residents and local business people
is at the heart of the plan writing process and has been taking
place for over 12 months. It has shaped all of our current
policies and helps us to understand what further questions we
need to ask to complete the plan.
This September event will be the final stage of community
consultation for us all and we have identified the key issues that
need your comments before the draft plan can be written.
The Plan vision:
To ensure Wirksworth is a vibrant, prosperous and sustainable
community whist preserving the distinct character of the town
and wider parish and promoting the health and well-being of its
The Plan objectives:
1. Housing - provide for our diverse population, to include all
ages and income levels.
2. Community - support a range of facilities for diverse needs
including education, health, sports, shops, culture and leisure.
3. Heritage and Environment - enhance natural and built
heritage of Wirksworth .
4. Economy and Tourism - promote a vibrant and sustainable
local economy, building on the town's distinctive strengths
5. Transport and Movement - create a safe and convenient
environment for pedestrians and cyclists in the town with links
to the surrounding countryside.
Planning Policy for housing - The National and District Context
The government is committed to increasing the supply of housing across the country.
The National Planning Policy Framework which was published last year sets out how local
authorities should make provision for the housing needs of their area. Derbyshire Dales
planners are in the process of formulating the Local Plan for the district. This is to cover
development for the next 15 years.
This plan has to show where development is possible and that sites are allocated.
The allocated sites for new housing in Wirksworth will produce 177 homes. This compares with
256 in Matlock, Tansley and Darley Dale and 423 in Ashbourne.
On top of these sites the Council have assumed that there will be ‘windfall’ sites, these are sites
which will be developed within the development boundaries of town and villages. An example
of such a site in Wirksworth is Beech Close.
The Local Plan is sets out that there will be around 225 new homes provided in our town over
the next 15 years. While this sounds like a big increase it is roughly in line with the number of
homes which have been provided in the last few years. It should be noted that this is just the
plan it does not mean that all these houses will be built.
Affordable Housing
Derbyshire Dales DC is particularly committed to providing affordable housing for local people.
Affordable housing has been their number one priority for a number of years and the Council
have been very successful at doing this. . Their planning policies are based around this aim. In
their Local Plan draft they state that any development of between 3 and 25 units should have
33% affordable housing, on sites of more than 25 units there should be 45% affordable
housing. These percentages are targets, developers are offered some flexibility as providing
affordable housing is usually done at ‘cost’, if a site has other unavoidable development costs
associated with it then adjustments can be made so that the site is viable.
By affordable housing the Council mean housing for rent or for ‘low cost home ownership’ such
as shared ownership. They are careful to set out that such housing should be protected to be
affordable ‘in perpetuity’ so that not just the first generation of occupants will benefit.
Generally affordable housing of either type is provided by a housing association and they work
to house people who cannot otherwise afford to buy.
Our neighbourhood plan has to be in accord with the Local Plan
and the housing numbers within it.
The allocation of new houses will enable a sustainable growth by
bringing the following benefits to Wirksworth:
Photo of
House type
1. Support the social diversity that is so important to
Wirksworth, with house types to suit local needs.
2. Maintain a lively and family focussed community alongside
national changes towards an ageing population and increasing
numbers of people living alone.
3. Increase the proportion of affordable housing in the town
4. Support the town economy and the viability and diversity of
local traders
5. Protect and sustain the critical community infrastructure
including schools leisure facilities, Post Office.
Photo of
house type
We have considered measures to curtail the number of second
homes in Wirksworth. Present planning law does not allow any
restriction on existing properties but it is possible to ensure that
new dwellings are occupied as main dwellings.
It is possible that there would be a large number of affordable
homes produced by the developments in Wirksworth - perhaps
up to 80 homes. While there is a need for more rented
accommodation we believe that there are people who would like
to buy into a home but find this impossible. We are exploring
the possibility of starter homes provided by a Community Land
The Trust would hold the freehold of the affordable homes built
and so could control who occupies the houses. The idea has
worked in other parts of the country. The Trust would sell a share
in the value of the homes to cover the cost of building them. So
if a house costs £80,000 to build and is worth £160,000 the first
purchaser would purchase a 50% share. When the owner comes
to move they would sell that share on to the next purchaser but
the Community Land Trust could ensure that the next person has
a connection to the town.
Photo of
house type
Our neighbourhood plan has to be in accord with
the Local Plan and the housing numbers within it.
The allocation of new houses will enable a
sustainable growth by bringing the following
benefits to Wirksworth:
Photo of
House type
1. Support the social diversity that is so important
to Wirksworth, with house types to suit local needs.
2. Maintain a lively and family focussed community
alongside national changes towards an ageing
population and increasing numbers of people living
Photo of
house type
3. Increase the proportion of affordable housing in
the town
4. Support the town economy and the viability and
diversity of local traders
5. Protect and sustain the critical community
infrastructure including schools leisure facilities,
Post Office,
Photo of
house type
Local Plan proposals
The DDDC Local Plan Housing allocation for Wirksworth
There are 177 allocated houses to Wirksworth in the new DDDC Local Plan for Derbyshire
Dales. This Local Plan is not formally adopted yet but is a final draft version which is planned
for approval mid 2014.
DDDC looked at a wide number of possible sites for allocated housing before arriving at a
decision to allocate all 177 houses to just two sites in Wirksworth. The majority of sites
considered were not included.
Site A Land on Cromford Road,
adjacent to Coneygreave House.
27 Houses Allocated
Site B Land owned by Tarmac,
Middleton Road.
150 Houses Allocated
Evaluation of Local Plan proposals
Concerns with Coneygreave House
This is a greenfield site that provides an important physical
separation and view corridor between Wirksworth and Bolehill.
Concerns with Middleton Road
This site has been undeveloped for many years. This is
partly due to a number of difficulties with bad ground
The big question is will the difficulties of this site actually
restrict rather than bring forward housing developments.
It is primarily a green field site, although DDDC do not
classify it as greenfield. Extensive development would
have a big impact on ecology and the visual quality of the
historic landscape.
The land use allocation also includes 4 hectares of
employment use that also will make the viability and
quality of housing development even harder.
Concerns with the exclusion of other suitable
The process followed by DDDC to decide which sites should be
allocated for new houses shows that that there are a wide
number of other sites that could be allocated for housing in
Wirksworth. It is not clear why only two sites have been
allocated. A number of the decisions are very inconsistent and
these have now been challenged.
Voicing these Concerns
Future Wirksworth have made strong representation to DDCDC
to voice these concerns and to ask for them to be considered in
the final writing of the Local Plan. We also intend to make use
of the Public Inspection of the Local Plan to present a stronger
case for alternative sites to be considered.
Neighbourhood Plan proposals
Working with the Local Plan
It is very important that the Neighbourhood Plan is in line with
the DDDC Local Plan in key strategic areas. If it is not then the
Neighbourhood Plan will not be approved.
Plan of Wirksworth with
Complementary Sites Located
We might be able to change the Local Plan, or it may not yet
be approved itself. For the moment we have to develop policies
that work with the DDDC Local Plan. This must include the
Housing allocations to Coneygreave House and Middleton Road.
Offering alternative sites and flexibility to
make new housing happen
At the same time as challenging the Local Plan Housing
Allocation we think it is a good idea to use the Neighbourhood
Plan to improve the opportunities for new housing in
Wirksworth by creating greater flexibility for development than
the current two sites offer. This can be done by writing
Neighbourhood Plan policies that propose more not less sites
for housing development.
The big idea at this stage is to identify some extra sites for
housing that would increase the likelihood of town growth
happening. These sites would be classified as complementary
rather than allocated.
Identifying complementary housing sites
We are seeking your views on a number of possible extra sites
which could be included as complementary sites for new
housing. All but one of the six sites were included in the early
stages of the DDDC process of allocating housing sites, so each
is deemed to have some potential.
We are looking for overall opinion on the options, not a sense
of preference or priority.
The benefits of complementary sites?
A. Coneygreave House (27)
B. Middleton Road (150)
1. Haarlem Mill (30-40)
2. Wards (12-15)
3. Wigleys (20)
4. Millwards (15-20)
5. Wash Green (10)
6. Station Yard (10-15)
We think that including complementary sites in the
Neighbourhood Plan will increase the chances of the town
growing sustainably over the next 15 years, will less impact on
the landscape .
Complementary sites
Site Location 1: Haarlem Mill, Derby Road, Wirksworth
Possible number of houses: 30-40
Haarlem Mill is currently allocated as land for employment use only. The
owner is very keen to see a mixed-use development where housing is
included to help make the overall project happen. This would be part
new build and part conversion of the existing Mill Building into flats. A
successful development of mixed-use at Haarlem Mill could create a
very important gateway development at the south of the town, with
tourism, employment and residential uses.
Complementary sites
Site Location 2: Wards / Stafford House, Derby Road, Wirksworth
Possible number of houses: 10-15
Site Location 3: Wigleys, Derby Road, Wirksworth
Possible number of houses: 15-20
Site Location 4: Land beyond Millwards Depot, Derby Road, Wirksworth
Possible number of houses: 12-15
Complementary sites
Site Location 5: Wirksworth Hall Farm, Wash Green, Wirksworth
Possible number of houses: 10
Site Location 6: Station Yard, Coldwell Street, Wirksworth
Possible number of houses: 10-15
Design guide
The Middleton Road site is the most significant development
site in Wirksworth included in the Derbyshire Dales Local
The Neighbourhood Plan allows us to produce a design guide
that sets out some clear principles on how the site should be
developed to the highest design quality and lowest impact
on the town and landscape. The design guide can be used to
influence future planning applications for the site and to
guide the decisions made on those applications.
The design guide is not a design masterplan. The design
masterplans will be prepared by any future developers of the
It is essential that the Design Guide is shaped by the views of
the town.
Do you want to become part of a working group to
develop the design guide during October?
Phasing / Landscape / Layout / Housing / Business
Units / Mixed Use / Density / Ecology / History /
Views / Amenity / Open Space / Character /
Sustainability / Zero Carbon / Self-Build /
Pedestrians /Cars
The Meadows
This large area of centrally located, undeveloped land has been in
private ownership for many years. Crossed by 2 public rights of way, it
is perceived by many to be common land. The area was the subject of a
planning application for houses some years ago that was refused. An
appeal against this resulted in a report that gave an opening for a small
number of houses plus some community development.
This in turn led to the land being identified by Derbyshire County
Council and the DDDC as a potential site for a combined Infant School
with Nursery provision. There would along with the houses be a small
residue of recreational land remaining.
The current owner is keen to dispose of the land as a single entity but
unfortunately DCC hold very little if no prospect of purchase or the
investment needed to create a new school in the foreseeable future or
life of this 15 year plan.
School Provision:
A School is becoming more remote as a proposal but events change
and the long term may result in monies being found. DCC are willing to
respond to the community`s wishes and maintain the land for
designated educational purposes.
Open Space:
The present state of the Meadows is largely that of an overgrown,
neglected open space for dog walkers. It could be maintained by
voluntary support groups as a designated community open space for
leisure/recreational purposes.
Consultation Questions:
The land at the Meadows should remain as a designated site for the
primary intention of a new Infant School.
The land at the Meadows should become a maintained, community
recreation area.
The Market
Wirksworth is an ancient market town and the Market has contributed to the
development and prosperity of the town . The Market has been located
on its current site since 1938 and prior to that time it was located in the area
outside Symonds House and the Red Lion, before Harrison Drive was knocked
through .
The current weekly Tuesday Market is in need of revitalization. and previous
research has identified that over 50 % of respondents consider the Tuesday
market is of poor quality and over 50% of those questioned do not regularly
visit the market.
The set up of Tuesday Market means that there is no public parking available
on the Market Place for most of every Tuesday. A survey of local business
has identified lack of parking and parking pricing policy as a major challenge
for local business.
The Town’s monthly Framers Market is however growing in popularity .
The NP will seek to protect and enhance Wirksworth’s Market Town identity
and economy. Through careful planning there is the opportunity to reinvigorate our existing market, drawing together the interests and
characteristics of the town, such as local food production, arts and crafts ,
second hand goods , fairtrade etc to produce a new type of market.
As part of this there is the option to relocate the existing market to a new
outdoor site, with accompanying infrastructure, as part of the
redevelopment of the Memorial Hall / Memorial Gardens/ Stones site
Consultation Questions
The current Tuesday Market needs to be re-invigorated.
Agree/ Disagree?
The Tuesday Market should be moved to the Memorial Hall/ Gdns
Site. Agree/ Disagree ?
Relocating the Tuesday Market will free up parking spaces and help to
reduce the some the towns parking problems. Agree/ Disgaree?
Photo of The
Market Place
Allotments and Energy
In the last 40 years, public allotment space has completely
disappeared. Due to an increase in popularity, there is now
considerable demand, and research into possible space has
identified several suitable sites on farmland near the edge
of town within easy walking reach for residents.
A clear Neighbourhood Plan policy will encourage
landowners to co-operate in the leasing or even sale of an
area sufficient for demand.
This is a complex and fundamentally important issue for the
town and has three interrelated strands :
1. Compliance of new build to a low energy consumption
2. Support for residents to install energy saving devices
and practice.
While state support for private energy producing measures like
solar panels, double glazing and insulation has met with some
success, the New Green Deal is now too expensive for many
residents. A not for profit town based group could co-ordinate
the work of local firms with residents.
3. Community production of energy using wind and sun
The town is ideally placed to use the natural resources of sun
and wind. Alongside privately owned wind turbines which
already exist, and those owned by local companies, the town
could be encouraged to develop community owned wind
turbines and banks of solar panels.
Heritage and
Wirksworth, Gorsey Bank and Bolehill all have a strong sense of
identity and a strong sense of place that is valued and loved by
residents and visitors to the area. The quality of the historic buildings
and spaces provide the physical parts of the town and the surrounding
landscape provides a backdrop and setting for the buildings.
3 conservation areas were designated to help protect the special
qualities, the earliest was Wirksworth first designated in 1970. During
the 1980’s the Wirksworth Project rescued many of the important
historic buildings and helped to make the town what it is today – a
place to love and respect.
The Local Plan does have conservation and design policies but we
would like to see those strengthened for our area.
Consultation Questions
Do you agree with the following ?
New development should respect local character and distinctiveness
through design and materials.
New development should respect local landscape quality ensuring
that distinctive views and vistas are maintained wherever possible.
Only modest scale extensions to existing properties would be
permitted in The Dale and Greenhill only.
Wirksworth is ideally placed to capitalise on it’s tourism potential . The
Town’s beautiful setting and exceptional build environment coupled with it’s
independent retail offer and year round calendar of events makes it very
attractive to visitors. The National Stone Centre, Ecclesbourne Valley Railway
and Eco Centre all provide significant tourism potential. There is however
currently a notable lack of recognition for the potential of Ecclesbourne
Valley Railway in the draft Local Plan.
Strengthening and consolidating the tourist sector should be supported by
the Plan. It will however need to be balanced with the need to preserve the
assets of the town – countryside, built environment and community
Holiday lets are rising which although helpful to the towns tourism economy
are seen by some to be detrimental, increasing house prices and affecting
the strong sense of community that is vital to the town. If Wirksworth is to
capitalise on it’s tourism potential however then provision of a range of
accommodation for overnight stays ( including hotel, camping etc) will need
to be considered.
Policy Proposal
Proposals for recreational and tourism activities and facilities should be
supported subject to the following criteria .
• They do not have significant harmful impacts on
– the local community.
– the character and appearance the towns natural and historic
– the wider visitor experience
Consultation Questions
The development of tourism in the town should be supported ?
Agree/ Disagree.?
Preference should be given to proposals that are sustainable with
good transport links ? Agree/Disagree ?
Preference should be given to proposals that re-use, adapt or change
existing permanent building ? Agree/Disagree?
The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway should be developed as a tourist
destination? Agree/Disagree?
Wirksworth needs to improve/ increase accommodation for tourists ?
Agree/Disagree ?
Transport & movement
Streets and Public Spaces
The Neighbourhood Plan has identified the following
There is a conflict between pedestrians and vehicles in
key areas of the town centre particularly along St John
Street which is very narrow in places and has a large
volume of traffic.
The character and appearance of the Conservation Area
in Wirksworth town centre is spoiled by large areas of
black tarmac on the streets, on the Market Place and
around Church Walk.
Narrow roadways and pavements causing
conflict between pedestrians and vehicles.
Service lorries and vans stop here on-street
causing congestion and pedestrian hazard.
Key town centre spaces that could be enhanced
Transport & movement
Streets and Public Spaces
The Neighbourhood Plan supports
improvements to the streets and public
spaces in central Wirksworth including:• Widening footpaths and the introduction
of a ‘Shared Surface’ scheme.
• Reducing traffic speed by design
alterations to the highway or a speed
reduction to 20mph.
• Seeking to introduce a weight limit on
vehicular traffic.
• Changing surface materials to improve
the character of the streets and public
• Rationalising signage and street furniture.
Area where pedestrians could be given greater
Town centre shopping zone.
Potential for traffic calming.
Introduction of ‘Shared Surface’ design.
Enhanced public spaces.
Next Steps
We will consider all the views and responses to this question and
use these to write development policies for the Neighbourhood
We will make our best judgement on where the balance of
opinion rests to write the policies
We will avoid writing a policy that has strong levels of objection
We will submit a draft plan to Wirksworth Town Council in
There will be a six week statutory consultation over Christmas
2013 and into January 2014
We will use the views and responses from this consultation to
further support our challenge to the current Derbyshire Dales
Local Plan allocation proposals
We will use the views and responses to inform and present our
case to the Inspector when the Local Plan is formally inspected
in early 2014

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