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We’re celebrating the Peak District National Park Authority’s planning committee’s decision today to give permission for two new “super-green, super-screened” houses in Youlgrave.  

The houses will be built into the side of Bradford Dale on the edge of the village. They will be screened from view by the slope of the Dale and by trees. Their design includes modern sustainable features including efficient insulation, passive solar heating, photo voltaic cells, green roofs, and rain water harvesting.

The Authority’s planning committee gave the go-ahead for the earth sheltered dwellings against the recommendations of its own planning officers. The people applying to build the houses already live in the village – and this caused some controversy because the National Park Authority’s planning policies state that new houses can only be built for, and occupied by, local people in need of housing.

Our planning officer, John King, spoke at the committee meeting. 

He argued that although we know this is potentially a tricky one, it means that four local needs dwellings will be added to Youlgrave’s housing stock. The applicants already live in Youlgrave and they want to move into the new houses. But they are willing to sign a legal undertaking to say that the two new houses – and the two houses that they are moving from – will comply with the National Park Authority’s local occupancy rules. So building these two new houses will reap four properties ring-fenced for local people in the future.

The scheme is supported by other people in Youlgrave including the Parish Council, and there were no objections to it.

We think this is a great scheme. The houses have brilliant green design features, and they won’t have any significant impact on the landscape. But best of all, it means more houses for local people, so we think the National Park Authority has made the right decision.

As the proposal is contrary to the Peak District National Park Authority’s planning policy which prevents new dwellings if the occupier isn’t in need of accommodation – the decision must be ratified at the next full Authority Meeting.