Rewilding the Wolds

As part of the work we’ve been doing behind the scenes, we’ve commissioned a report that looks into rewilding the Wolds as an alternative to developing it.

This report will propose the creation of a diverse, wild landscape that mitigates against flooding, produces good food, is integrated with outdoor recreation and education and contributes to and enhances the natural and local environment.

You can read the whole document below.

Some keys points to summarise:

The Wolds landscape is rare and highly valuable as a wildlife habitat.

“This site represents a fragment of a bygone farming age. The fields are diverse, the hedges mature and the valley bottom is still wet flush. These habitats have all but vanished from the larger countryside but it is alongside these habitats that our wildlife co-evolved.”

The site forms a vital part of the wider ecology of the area and development would damage that relationship and affect the species in it.

“The larger area, of which this site is a part, is known to house nightjars, snipe, woodcock, curlew, cuckoos, spotted flycatchers, common lizard, slow worms and grass snakes (all of which are red or amber listed or BAP priority species).”

The diversity of flora found across the site indicated that it could be restored to valuable, species rich grassland with simple changes. This is vital as much of this type of grassland has been lost in the UK.

“Over 90% of species rich grasslands were lost during the 20th century (The Wildlife Trusts, 2021) making remaining areas, such as this, highly valuable for wildlife.”

The site has many mature hedgerows which are classed as important habitat for wildlife.

“Hedgerows are now classified as UK Biodiversity Action Plan
(BAP) Priority Habitats with all hedgerows included, provided that they have at least 80% native woody vegetation which the hedgerows present within the site conform to (ES1).”

Planning committee

Here’s the new members of Derbyshire Dales District Council’s Planning committee. Please send your objections to them too:



Objection pointers

Write your letters using valid planning objections. We’ve also listed some ideas below to give you an idea of what is important, and add in your own concerns as well.

Please do not simply copy and paste however as this will not count as an individual objection

  • Nine years of disruption, noise and pollution for existing residents while all four phases of the planned development are built
  • Increased traffic will lead to more accidents and safety issues for pedestrians and pupils walking to Highfields school
  • Unacceptable amounts of heavy traffic on small residential roads – between 50 and 90 HGVs PER DAY for NINE YEARS!
  • Access to huge site via small residential streets (Wolds Road and Cavendish Road)
  • Increased traffic – developers state Gritstone road will see an increase in traffic in the morning of 269% and in the evening of 645%
  • Drainage issues and increased flooding from a site that already has lots of issues with standing and run off water
  • Location at most elevated site in town meaning that any sustainable travel will be impossible (ie no one will walk or cycle from town, therefore there will be 100s of extra cars on the roads) this is contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework
  • Highways already at capacity in several key junctions such as Crown Square – adding 100s of extra cars onto the roads will cause gridlock
  • Destruction of wildlife habitat
  • Destruction of 100% greenfields
  • Destruction of much loved, valued local landscape that can be viewed from several, long range view points including tourist hotspots such as Crich Stand, Black Rocks and more
  • Loss of wildlife including bats, badgers and several species of birds on the RSPB red and amber lists
  • Pollution and adverse health affects to young children, older people and vulnerable people
  • The Derwent Valley Aqueduct crosses part of the site. This Victorian structure carries 100,000s of litres of water per second, hasn’t been checked for years and will be catastrophic for the town if damaged during building works
  • Metals and other contaminants washing into local water courses including Bentley Brook and the historic Lumsdale Mills
  • Pressure on schools, health care and other infrastructure. GPs are already warning that there is no resilience in healthcare provision for the town.
  • Adverse impact on historical Wolds Farmhouse
  • For people bordering the site – loss of light, privacy and amenity. Existing homes will be overlooked by new houses
  • Unacceptable effects by reason of visual intrusion, overlooking, shadowing, overbearing effect, noise, light pollution and other adverse impacts on local character and amenity.

Greenfield sites are much more attractive to developers than brown fields – make no mistake they will be fighting hard for this to go through, so we need to fight harder!

Developers will now feel that they have strong case for approval as the site is allocated in the local plan for residential development.

However we know how unsuitable the site is and it is our job to ensure those making the decisions are aware of that too.


The developers are back. With pretty much the same proposals . . they’ve taken no notice what-so-ever of anyone’s concerns about traffic, flooding, loss of wildlife or greenfield.

So it’s time to object again. Get your letters in before June 4th 2021.

Use the planning ref number 18/01242/EIA in all objections.

You can view the planning application and all associated documentation (including the 100s of objections already received) here. 

Forgotten what it looks like?

It is a Hybrid Planning Application in two parts, in total of upto 423 houses built on 100% greenfields at the north of Matlock.

The proposals, to be built over nine years, comprise of:

Phase one: Full Planning Application for 78 residential units with associated access, open space, landscaping and surface water attenuation at land Between Sandy Lane, Bent Lane And Gritstone Road Matlock Derbyshire.

Outline Planning Application with approval being sought for site access for up to 345 Residential Units, an A1 (Retail use), A3 (Restaurant and Cafe use) and/ or A5 (Hot Food Takeaway use) Unit and Open Space including a Country Park and Play Area and associated landscaping and surface water attenuation.

More flooding – action needed

Your action is urgently needed.

Given the recent flooding, again, of Matlock town centre, it is vital that we keep the Wolds site, and all its associated flood risks, foremost in the minds of the decision makers.

With that aim, please email your MP Sarah Dines and remind her of the dangers of allowing the site to be built on.

Concreting over green fields at the top of Matlock means destroying natural water soakaways. Surface water already pours off the site – this will become even worse if it is built on.

Water then finds its way down hill and into the town centre. Here’s just some of the water on the site on Jan 22nd 2021.

It will seriously impact the whole town and its economy, not just the people who border the proposed development.

We have already seen Wetherspoons leave the town due to flood damage, how many more town centre businesses are they prepared to sacrifice in the name of rampant Greenfield development??

Matlock has hit the headlines a lot recently and it would ideal if our influencers and decision makers are on the right side of history as regards this development.

Houses planned over flood site

With the recent heavy rains that are becoming yet more frequent, once again the Gritstone Pond makes an appearance.

As you can see William Davis plan to site houses directly above this area of waterlogged ground.

Don’t fancy being the owners of numbers 53 and 54 on the site plan below . . . .


The pond is a regular occurrence for around 6/7 months of the year, not to mention the persistent groundwater that is in evidence along the southern boundary of the site.

Not to mention the constant flooding seen at Amberdene and other areas that surround the proposed development site.

How much more evidence do we need to provide to show that building here would be reckless and potentially catastrophic?!

New application in – OBJECT

There’s been a new planning application put in for the Wolds site. So we need to start our objections again.

Key documents to look at are:
Please spread the word and get friends and family to object too.
Wolds Action Groups

Wolds from above

In case you need anymore convincing about the destructive, unnecessary and utterly preposterous proposals that we are fighting, then take a look at the footage below.

It shows the extent of the beautiful Wolds site that is at risk from greedy, speculative, development.

It’s a 100% greenfield site, a nature haven, an oasis of calm in an increasingly congested, and developed, area of Matlock.

We’re fighting an application for 415 houses on this pristine site. It’s an unneeded, disgraceful proposal that is all about profit and nothing about addressing the housing need.

Many will be four bedroom houses with three garages – hardly first time buyer material is it?

And it makes a mockery of the developer’s woffle about it being a sustainable site.

Three garages shows that they know exactly how people will reach the site -and it will not be on foot or on a bike – leading to a huge increase in traffic and pollution on already congested residential roads.