- Friday, 15 February 2013 08:28
A reminder that 27 February is the date local people get an opportunity at an open forum to have their say on how the proposed redevelopment of Matlock's Bakewell Road should look.
The public event – which will include the opportunity for people to make live comments via Twitter and Facebook – will take place at County Hall, Matlock, at 6pm.
At the end of last year Derbyshire Dales District Council promised that local people would be given an opportunity to have their say before any formal plans were submitted for consideration by developer Henry Davidson Developments Ltd (HDD).
The February open forum will be the first event in a consultation programme that will be announced shortly.
The District Council's Director of Planning & Housing Services Paul Wilson said:
"It's worth repeating that there are currently no proposals for Bakewell Road and no plans. The District Council has chosen a developer for Bakewell Road, not a development.
"We must stress also that we are under no illusions that there are many challenges ahead before any formal steps can be taken to develop this important part of Matlock town centre.
"The District Council and HDD really want to get a feel for local people's ideal vision of the way Bakewell Road could look. The difficult part of course is balancing great ideas against the economic reality of what will be needed to make any development viable.
"That reality includes the willingness of potential tenants to sign up to any plans and in today's economic climate we have to accept that there are no guarantees in this respect.
"However, we are conscious that local people, including traders and the Town Council, have been straining at the leash for some time to put forward their views and we will be delighted to listen to everyone's comments as a starting point in the development process. At the moment, as we've said before, Bakewell Road is a blank sheet of paper that local people now have an opportunity to help fill in."
On the night, anyone not able to attend in person will be able to follow what is being said and make their own comments via a live Twitter feed providing by the District Council. Comments via the District Council's Facebook page will be welcomed too.
Since being appointed, HDD have been carrying out an up-to-date assessment of the retail potential in and around Matlock.
Henry Davidson Developments Ltd will be sending a representative to the open forum, and Managing Director Scott Davidson said:
"Our task currently is to work closely with the District Council on the future of Bakewell Road while testing the retail market's view of Matlock. We'll hopefully be able to give local people an update on where we are at with that on 27 February and also to reassure everyone that public consultation to establish the needs of the local community is really important to us."
Matlock Town Team chairperson Richard Roberts, representing local traders, said:
"We're pleased the District Council is giving the people of Matlock an opportunity to have a say on the way Matlock town centre could look in the future. It's vital that the developers and planners get this right to ensure that the town's many independent traders can view the future with confidence."
If after the first phase of public consultation a planning application is submitted, a further public consultation would happen as part of the due planning process, giving the public the opportunity to put forward their views on two separate occasions.