Cowdale Public Inquiry finishes

17th Sep 2012

The Public Inquiry into plans for a water bottling factory at Cowdale Quarry near Buxton has finally finished. The Inquiry initially opened in June, but had to be postponed until September so that all the developer’s witnesses could all be heard.
Express Park Buxton submitted plans to build the factory in 2009, 2010 and 2011. We joined local campaigners in fighting all applications. High Peak Borough Council unanimously rejected them because they would be “unsustainable” and “harmful to character and visual appearance of the countryside and special landscape area.”
Developers then appealed to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate against High Peak’s decision on the second application, resulting in the Public Inquiry.
Our planning officer John King joined local people to give evidence about the terrible impact this ten-hectare water bottling plant and distribution site would have on much-loved countryside on the edge of the National Park. Our thanks also go to everyone who turned up to give their support.
We hope that the appeal is refused on planning grounds as an unwarranted intrusion into the countryside, severe damage to ancient woodland and a scheduled monument, and because it would be built in an area of special landscape adjacent to the Peak District National Park.
However, the development is also being proposed at a time when the Government is pushing for growth and economic benefits are now given more weight in new national planning policy.
The Planning Inspectorate is expected to make a decision in mid November.