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CPRE Derbyshire 2014 AGM

2014 AGM 2014 AGM

Our 2014 AGM was a great success, with two interesting speakers followed by the business part of the day. Our thanks go to Derbyshire members for their lively input.

The story of the Cromford Canal

In the morning Mike Kelley gave a very informative talk on the history of the Cromford Canal and its restoration, entitled 'The Sleeping Beauty'.

Before the railway system was developed, canals played the major role in transporting heavy goods around the country, linking major areas and promoting industrial development.  There had never been anything like this before.  In our area, lead, coal and limestone were transported by water, although cotton was still taken from the mills by packhorse, due to the friction between the mill owner and the canal engineer.

Cromford canal M Kelley.180x120jpgHowever, with the coming of the railways, Cromford Canal fell into disrepair.  Waterways were allowed to silt up, were used as rubbish dumps and were even filled in and built over.  This decline continued until a band of four, including Mike Kelley, founded the society Friends of the Cromford Canal, and, with the help of many dedicated volunteers, work began to restore the canal to its former beauty. 

Today, a Government body has described the Cromford Canal as being a site of national importance, because it has played such a major part in our world leading industrial heritage and because it was and still is an engineering marvel.

Mike and the members of his society believe that, with a substantial financial input, this waterway, set in an UNESCO world heritage site and close to well-established tourist hotspots, could be developed further, bringing huge benefits to the area from tourism.  No longer 'A Sleeping Beauty'- Cromford Canal is now 'Awakening'.  


Contesting planning applications

During the afternoon, planning consultant Bryan Wolsey delivered a useful and interactive talk, illustrating how individuals and organisations such as CPRE can influence or contest contentious development in their area.

Planning talk AGM 180x120Bryan pointed out the need to “think big, but act small”, explaining the importance of influencing local policy formation under the Local Plan, but also in having an eye to the detail contained within individual planning applications – even the largest, high profile developments have been known to flounder on the finer points of procedural detail!

Wind turbines were raised as an example of the potential to think big – the economics being largely based upon feed-in tariffs, which by definition are of questionable sustainability. Conversely, the provision of an appropriate certificate to confirm land ownership was cited as an example of the kind of procedural detail sometimes overlooked by the developer.

We finished with an entertaining exercise whereby Bryan asked for the audience view on a number of planning scenarios and whether they were “material planning considerations” or not - some of the answers were quite illuminating!

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