Buxton Civic Association (BCA) is a registered charity established to preserve Buxton’s natural and formal landscape. The Association has a large active membership from the local community. BCA is commenting on the planning application for outline planning permission for the demolition of existing buildings and construction of new dwellings on the former market place – High Peak Town Yard, Market Street.
BCA supports the aim of redeveloping a brownfield site located in the centre of Buxton and the potential positive impact it could bring to local businesses through the provision of more local central dwellings enabling residents to walk to local facilities and businesses and help reduce car usage and climate change impacts.
BCA notes the objections primarily relating to the significant loss of car parking spaces and the negative impact this could have on local businesses, there is also objection to the proposed demolition of the existing properties and suitability of the planned development.
It is noted that there is a need to redevelop this part of town but with something that can be supported by local businesses and residents.
BCA has the following comments on the proposal:
1. The outline planning application significantly reduces the number of parking spaces available to residents and visitors from around 90 spaces to 50 – a 55% reduction. This is at a time when Buxton is expanding with a number of housing developments currently underway. Without significant improvements in sustainable public transport a large reduction in the number of spaces has the potential to negatively impact local businesses and so could lead to further business closures which the town can ill afford to lose. There is a need for the development to include for considerably more parking spaces than being proposed and the provision of electric car charging points.
2. The proposal to demolish the existing buildings is not accompanied by any supporting evidence to clearly demonstrate there is a structural need for this rather than refurbishment to high environmental standards. Any refurbishment would need to achieve high standards of energy efficiency. These buildings add to the character of Market St and are distinctive. They appear to be sound and may merit renovation and modernisation for residential purposes. However there is a need for an evaluation and structural survey to be undertaken to assess whether they can be redeveloped to high environmental standards before planning approval can be granted for demolition for some or all of these properties.
3. The building of new residential property, especially flats and apartments in the centre of Buxton could bring potential benefits to the area, however it is important they fit in with the surrounding central location and are built to achieve very high standards of energy efficiency to minimise climate impacts. There are some good redevelopments in the centre of Buxton that blend in notably the development of the former Otter Controls site nearby. The outline plans do not show that this development blends in and provides the type of suitable accommodation such as flats and town houses that are needed. There is a need to reconsider the plans for this site to ensure they fit in with the area, achieve high environmental standards (e.g. zero carbon homes), benefit wildlife (e.g. provision of bird boxes for swifts etc.) and provide the type of dwellings needed.
4. The archaeology report indicates the need for an investigation to be undertaken. This should be carried out prior to any outline planning being granted.