This is an archived press release
Thursday 9 July 2015
A new housing development that sparked controversy in a Peak District village has now provided the inspiration for a spectacular well dressing.
Designer Phil Smith chose the eight new homes in Youlgrave to decorate Bank Top Well in the village. It is the largest of the Youlgrave wells and took around 250 hours to complete.
The new development is called Hannah Bowman Way, in honour of the woman who was instrumental in bringing a fresh water supply to Youlgrave in the 19th Century.
The affordable housing was built by a local partnership of Youlgrave Community Land Trust and the Peak District Rural Housing Association.
A survey carried out in 2007 showed the need for housing for local people who would not otherwise be able to afford homes in the village. The search for a suitable site began and the land close to Conksbury Lane was chosen. Planning permission was granted for a scheme but this was halted when local objectors lodged a village green application. This was turned down but about 18 months was lost. Changes on the site led to a further planning application, which was granted in July 2013.
Andrea Needham, a senior planner with the Peak District National Park Authority, said: “We were heavily involved in the project from a planning point of view so it is really nice to see the new homes for local people being recognised in this way.’’
Well dressings are said by some people to have developed from the pagan custom of making sacrifice to the gods of springs and wells to ensure a continued supply of clean water. The custom is then thought to have been adopted by the Christian church to give thanks for the gift of water.