27 July 2015

Aldi Given Planning Permission For New Supermarket at New Mills Newtown

This evening, Jonathan Dodds of the Buxton Advertiser posted the following on the newspaper's website:

Plans for a new Aldi retail food store in New Mills have been given the green light, despite fears by objectors that it will lead to increased traffic congestion and impact on existing town centre shops.

High Peak Borough Council’s Development Control Committee voted 10-1 in favour of the development of a single storey flat-roofed supermarket on vacant land off Albion Road, close to Newtown train station.

The budget supermarket chain’s new store, covering a gross floor area of 1,784 square metres, will be accompanied by 92 customer and six staff parking spaces. The roof will also be fitted with an array of 200 photovoltaic solar panels.

The application provoked a mixed response from residents, with 51 letters of support received by the council and over 70 in objection.

New Mills councillor Lance Dowson told the committee there were conflicting arguments both for and against the scheme. These included balancing the need to protect the town centre’s traditional independent shops with that of offering a discount food store to people living in areas of the town deemed some of the most deprived in High Peak.

“Perhaps this is an Aldi too far?” he questioned, referring to an online search which revealed six Aldi stores within five miles of the town.

Other concerns highlighted included fears over increased traffic, particularly at the junction with Albion Road, and the proposed demolition of the neighbouring methodist chapel as part of alterations to the site entrance, an action which objectors claimed would be “an act of vandalism”.

A planning officer’s report to the meeting, which recommended approval, said the proposed development would “deliver economic, social and environmental benefits”, adding that any negative impacts relating to highway safety and residential amenity could be addressed through planning conditions.

Cllr Emily Thrane said, on the face of it, she could see no reason to refuse the application, and welcomed the inclusion of an overspill car park for the railway station which would provide 22 spaces.

Cllr Stewart Young lauded the potential boost to local jobs, and reiterated a condition of approval would be a Section 106 agreement to deliver funding towards highway and traffic management measures.

Voting against approval, Cllr John Kappes said that while he welcomed the development of a brownfield site, he felt there were more suitable uses for the land.

“This is an ideal location for start-up housing, what with a train station and shops nearby,” he commented.

“For me, Aldi would be wrong for New Mills, it would be wrong for Disley, and would be a drain on local resources.”

The approved plans also included outline permission for a light industrial unit at the rear of the site, and retention of the existing footbridge.

21 July 2015

This is getting silly

Following the unexpected postponement / cancellation of its 13 July 2015 meeting without notice, New Mills town council duly convened a council meeting with the same agenda to take place on this coming Thursday 23 July 2015.

The replacement meeting was convened in the correct legal way as follows:

1. The agenda for the meeting was published by affixing it in a conspicuous place in the town.

(In this case, the conspicuous place is the public notice board at the junction of Spring Bank, Hall Street and Market St)

2.  The summons to attend the meeting, along with the published agenda, was sent out to all councillors.

So far so good.

So what are we to make of the following email, which was sent to all councillors this morning at just after 11 o'clock.  The text of the email is:

"Good morning

I have been instructed by the Chair to cancel the meeting for Thursday 23rd July.  I have suggested that the Vice Chair should chair the meeting.


Lesley Bramwell

Clerk to New Mills Town Council"

It has now been several weeks since the last normal business of New Mills Town Council was conducted, excluding of the co-option of the new group of councillors.

In a possibly connected development, we understand that a small number of people is still hoping that they might be able to obstruct council member Cllr David Lamb from taking his duly appointed place at meetings.

The law concerning absence of a local council chairman is clear, simple and unambiguous:

Local Government Act 1972, Schedule 12:

Paragraph 11(2):
If the chairman of the council is absent from a meeting of the council, the vice chairman of the council, if present, shall preside.

Paragraph 11(3):
If both the chairman and the vice-chairman of the council are absent from a meeting of the council, such councillor as the members of the council present shall choose shall preside