Matlock sites on hold for flood risk assessment

14th October 2020

Three developments sites in Matlock are under review for their potential to increase the flood risk to the town.

CPRE Derbyshire has long been concerned about potential over-development in Matlock, leading to the loss of green fields and adverse impacts on the landscape.

We opposed the development at Bentley Bridge alongside the Lumsdale heritage site, but sadly, the ‘Thornberries’ development of around 80 houses went ahead.

We were also shocked to see the appalling design proposed for Asker Lane in the town. We didn’t oppose development there in principle, but the large scale brick buildings were seriously at odds with the character of the area.

We also joined the fight with the Wolds Action Group to oppose the inclusion in the Local Plan of a large greenfield site for 450 houses adjacent to Matlock Moor. Again, we did not prevail and subsequently a planning application for the site was submitted by the developer.
In 2020, we find that all three of these sites are now under review for their potential to increase flood risk in the town. The Wolds application is on hold at the request of the County Council flood team, while an area-wide assessment of the entire Bentley Brook catchment and the impact on it of these developments is carried out. Bentley Brook flows into the River Derwent, and in the recent floods it became clear that increased run off into the brook causes problems downstream.

This situation was foreseeable. At the consultation stage, many local people had pointed out the role of the Bentley Brook and Wolds green field sites in absorbing water from the many springs flowing from Matlock Moor. They argued that replacing these fields with hard-standing would inevitably increase run off into the Derwent River at Matlock and downstream towards Derby.

We have seen the dire predictions start to come true of a warming climate increasing the frequency of heavy rain and flooding. Upland areas in the countryside must be protected for their critical role in absorbing and storing water.

We fear that forging ahead with the large development on the Wolds site in Matlock and others like it in the county, will prove to be a very costly mistake in the long term.