Letter: Duckmanton planning decision was disgraceful display of bureaucracy at its worst

A letter writer is unhappy at plans to build around 200 new homes in their village. (Photo: Submitted)
A letter writer is unhappy at plans to build around 200 new homes in their village. (Photo: Submitted)

This development has the potential to add further homes to other developments in a five-mile radius, which will see and additional 800 to 1,000 new homes when all are complete.

A group of concerned residents heard the planning committee expound their support for the application at great length, and were given a total of approximately six minutes to voice their own concerns.

Three of these residents acted as spokespersons, and voiced precise and eloquent objections which covered subjects from flooding, to traffic congestion and inadequate health care and education facilities.

The proposed development site is bounded by two small country roads that are already subject to fast moving and high volumes of traffic. One of these roads is subject to regularly documented flooding, often causing the road to be temporarily closed.

Closure of this road will force traffic through Duckmanton, with its primary school, play area, shops and residential properties.

The committee recognised that the flooding was an issue, but one member commented that retention ponds are “expected” to hold flood water, and “may” even improve the flooding problem.

He went on to state that, in his experience, new development often reduced the chance of flooding, despite porous farmland being replaced by asphalt and brick areas which are known to increase run-off.

The lack of available medical and education facilities in the area surrounding the proposed site was covered in detail by one spokesperson, pointing out that most GP surgeries and dental practices are either closed to new NHS patients, or offering limited number of NHS openings.

When it was pointed out that the most adjacent primary infant school in Duckmanton is almost at full capacity for students, the committee chairman stated it was “outside” the committee’s remit, and so could not be considered in deciding on the success of this application.

The voiced objection by the three spokespersons was so compelling, it initially seemed the vote would swing against the application, when a number of the borough councillors raised their own concerns, and sympathised with residents.

The planning committee chairman then pointed out to the councillors that concerns such as health and education facilities were not considered part of the matter of approving an application, and should be discounted when deciding to vote.

So, a proposal was made by one councillor, but it took the planning committee chairman to second the proposal as no councillor raised their hand to second it.

The councillors voted, and although some were brave enough to vote against, the majority, constrained by the rules governing approval of planning applications, voted in favour of the application.

Local residents were stunned to hear the proposal passed and their concerns disregarded despite their validity, because those concerns didn’t tick the correct boxes on the rules for approval.

It would seem to me that the council is more concerned about complying with the regulations regarding planning application voting than the welfare of the citizens they are in power to protect.

It was a disgraceful display of bureaucracy at its worst. Shame on you Chesterfield Borough Council.

Keith Oxby

Duckmanton Resident