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The controversial application for a housing development in Hartington goes to the Planning Committee today, 13th February. The Park Authority officer's report is recommending the application be granted. Friends of the Peak District will speak against it, believing that the fundamental problem with the application is the inadequate provision of desperately needed affordable homes in the area.

There is general agreement that cleaning up the derelict site would be desirable for Hartington. We also recognise that, in some instances, development of some market housing is necessary to support the financial viability of developments which provide benefits to the community and the environment. Since the National Park Authority has no policy requirement for market housing, it follows that the only justification for market housing is to finance the delivery of environmental and community benefits.

The officer's report for this application reveals that:

  1. Derbyshire Dales District Council identify a need for 19 affordable dwellings in Hartington
  2. Public consultation responses at the time of the previous application showed that 78% of respondents wanted to see six affordable dwellings delivered on the site, and a significant minority (34%) wanted more than six; so 6 must be an absolute minimum
  3. There are no other sites in Hartington likely to be available for delivering affordable housing

We believe that the Dove Dairy site offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to supply a meaningful increase in affordable housing in Hartington. Not only is four affordables against 22 market dwellings woefully inadequate in itself, but the development also squanders the potential for the site to deliver the wider affordable need in the Parish.

Affordable housing is the main community benefit that Hartington needs. We accepting that market housing can finance community benefit, but if a market housing scheme cannot provide the level of community benefit that is needed, then that scheme should not go ahead. Developing market housing without adequate community benefit is contrary to the purposes and policies of the National Park, it would be damaging for Hartington, and it would set a dangerous precedent for the future of other sites in the National Park.

So we will be strongly urging national park authority members to refuse the application in its current form, and that any revised application would not be considered unless it provided, at the very least, six affordable dwellings.