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June 25, 2024

Derbyshire Dales District Council has begun to prepare a new Local Plan, which will guide development in the borough until at least 2040. This will replace the current Local Plan, covering the period up to 2033.

This new Plan will need to set out how many homes are needed and where they should be located. The “New Approach to Housing Consultation,” which started in May 2024, asked for views on how to do that, to help the council prepare the first draft of their new Plan later in the year.

You can find more information about this consultation here, but we’ve summarised the key points below, along with our analysis.

How many new homes are proposed?

Derbyshire Dales have suggested that they will need to deliver between 81 and 111 new homes each year up to 2040. The true figure, however, is likely to be higher.

The starting point for calculating how many new homes are needed is the government’s “standard method,” a formula which takes into account the expected change in the number of households and the affordability of homes.

For Derbyshire Dales, this currently suggests an average of 216 new homes will be needed each year, well above the target currently being proposed.

Where will those new homes be built?

The first step is to identify the existing range of services and facilities in every town and village, to identify those which are most suitable for new development. These are represented in a “settlement hierarchy”, with those areas which are most suitable for new development at the top, and the least suitable at the bottom.

The council have suggested the new Local Plan’s settlement hierarchy would be:

Tier 1: Ashbourne, Matlock, Wirksworth

Tier 2: Darley Dale

Tier 3: Brailsford, Clifton, Cromford, Darley Bridge, Doveridge, Hulland Ward, Matlock Bath, Middleton, Northwood, Rowsley, Sudbury, Tansley

Tier 4: Bonsall, Brassington, Carsington, Kniveton, Kirk Ireton, Longford, Marston Montgomery

Tier 5: Bradley, Ednaston, Hognaston, Hollington, Longford, Osmaston, Roston, Shirley, Wyaston and Yeaveley

This suggests that the majority of new homes will continue to be built in Matlock, Ashbourne and Wirksworth.

The total number of new homes required, makes it likely that almost all the settlements in the top three tiers will be expected to accommodate at least some new homes.

The smaller, less sustainable settlements in tiers 4 and 5 are unlikely to deliver many new homes at all.

Other factors, including physical constraints (such as steep slopes or the availability of land) and planning constraints (like the National Park) will also need to be considered. This might see some settlements having to accommodate less development than they otherwise would, with the shortfall being made up elsewhere.

How long will it take to prepare the new Plan?

The Plan is still in its very early stages. The council intend to submit the Plan for examination - essentially a public inquiry to check the Plan meets national policy and legal requirements before it is allowed to come into effect - in June 2025. The way that Local Plans are prepared and what they will contain will change later this year, and June 2025 is the deadline for plans to be prepared under the current system. You can read more about how the plan-making process will change here).

There will be a number of formal consultation stages between now and June 2025 to get the plan ready for submission, with the examination stage to follow that. –. A likely date for the new plan to be adopted, and come into effect, would therefore be late 2026 or early 2027.

There is, however, quite a bit of uncertainty around this timetable. The June 2025 deadline is already very tight. It is quite common for Plan timetables to slip as new information comes to light,  the council changes political control, or national planning policy is changed. If this occurs, and the June 2025 submission deadline is missed, the council may be forced to start from scratch with a new Local Plan under the new rules. There is therefore scope for the existing timetable to change quite significantly.

With that in mind, here is the timetable the council are currently working to:

What are the next steps?

Until the 20 June 2024, the council will be consulting on their “New Approach to Housing” proposals, outlining how many new homes must be built and where. Once the council have considered the responses, they will likely look to “allocate” specific sites in a draft Local Plan. An allocation establishes that the site is suitable for development, so the council will need to be convinced that the site can be delivered before that allocation is confirmed in the final draft plan. This means that landowners need to put in a great deal of work to secure an allocation in the first place, and to ensure it is retained as the Plan progresses.

To help them make those judgements, , the council are running a “Call for Sites” exercise. This allows landowners to send details of their land to the council, who will then consider its development potential. When the time comes to identify specific sites for development, the council will refer back to the sites they have received, and first consider the sites that performed well in their assessment. That means it is vitally important that your submission is of high quality, and covers all of the issues the council will consider. We explain how to go about there here.

How we can help

At The Strategic Land Group, we promote sites through the Local Plan process on behalf of all our landowner partners, allowing them to benefit from our 15 years of experience. We take responsibility for the whole process, making Call for Sites submissions, responding to all the formal consultation stages, having ad hoc meetings with the council, and attending the public inquiry at the end of the plan process. We will even find a developer to buy the land once planning permission is in place.

We do all of that at our own cost and risk. Our fee is a share of the value of the land once it is sold, so if we don’t succeed you don’t owe us anything. That approach also ensures our interests are aligned with yours – to secure the best possible planning permission in the shortest possible time.

Our aim is always to optimise the eventual sale price by removing as much risk as possible and increasing the attractiveness of the site to the market.

If you know of a site in Derbyshire Dales, or anywhere else, which might be suitable for new development, get in touch today for a free, no obligation consultation.

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