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CHURNET VALLEY CONSERVATION SOCIETY

                       protecting and conserving this natural area of outstanding beauty  

                                                        

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The Moneystone Holiday Park determination by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council's Planning Applications Committee has been put back yet again to January 14th 2021. This is because Laver Leisure are still unable to satisfy the Planning Officers many and serious concerns.

A 2020 message to all our supporters:

We hope you are all coping with the ongoing Covid Crisis restrictions and that yourself and your family are keeping safe in these difficult and very taxing times, especially in the run up to Christmas.
This is an update on the latest news from CVCS and the first task is to thank you all once again on behalf of the Committee for your continued support throughout the year, despite its wretchedness and months of disruption to our normal lives. We are especially grateful to those of you who took the time and trouble to write to the local planning offices in Leek about the continuing problems over the proposed development at Moneystone Quarry which has overshadowed other matters and has dominated our activity as a group.
We have appreciated your support in raising serious objections to the inappropriateness of this scheme which, if it were to proceed, will have a severe impact upon the future of the Churnet Valley and it is a measure of the lack of forethought and shortsightedness of the entire scheme that over a year on since the reserved matters, or final detailed plans, that have been submitted to SMDC by the developers, is still not fit for the Planning Applications Committee to pass judgement on it because the documentation that supports the applications has been proved to be so inadequate.
Consequently, throughout the year as the dates for the hearing of the applications have been announced, we have raised a series of concerns that have not been properly addressed and so SMDC have repeatedly postponed the monthly date and sought further consultation with developer’s agents to try to find solutions.
At the moment there remains a number of urgent matters that are not yet properly resolved, from the stability of quarry 3 and its lake, public safety issues, pollution from former industrial waste, departures from the 2014 agreed restoration plans and the outline permission granted in 2016, to the ecological threat to the adjacent SSSIs and SBI as well as new impacts on recently established fauna and flora that have colonised since the quarrying ceased in 2010.
The developers are driven by a desire to exploit this landscape once again at the expense of proper restoration, whereas we aim to ensure that the future of this particular area is compatible with the longer term goals of achieving AONB status for the whole of the Churnet Valley.
To gain the protection of the valley by having it recognised by the Government as An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a status second only to that of being made a national park, is something that would not only be deserved and welcomed by the visitors who currently appreciate its intrinsic attractions, but would also ensure its future prosperity via sustainable tourism, as well as guarantee that future generations will be able to enjoy the best of its natural beauty and heritage attractions.
So, with that determined aim in mind, we have continued to monitor and encourage development that will achieve the best for the unique area of countryside. Thanks to your continued support, as you will see from the minutes of the latest online committee meeting below, the fight goes on.
Likewise, the situation at Whiston Golf course continues to be monitored carefully, even though the initial threat of having it become a location for the dumping of waste materials was eased this autumn by the planning decision of Staffordshire County Council to refuse to allow permission after campaigning by local residents, Kingsley Parish Council and other groups like CVCS.
We will therefore continue to keep you posted on the latest news in the immediate New Year but for now we would like to wish you all the very best so that wherever you are, and in whatever way you are able to celebrate it, you have good Christmas with the hope of better times ahead.

 

 

During the Covid crisis your Committee continues to hold virtual meetings using Zoom

Minutes of the CVCS Zoom Committee Meeting 26/11/20

Online :David Fowler (DF) Chair John Steele (JS), John Williams (JW) and David Walters (DW)
Apologies. Samantha Cunningham (SC), Dave Robinson Smith (DRS)

1. Matters arising from previous minutes and new developments were discussed.

2. Hearing for Moneystone Quarry (MQ) planning applications now deferred (yet again) and is now scheduled to be held on 14th January 2021.
It is understood that this is as a result of further interventions by local groups opposing the scheme, including CVCS, and inadequate application documentation that needed to be sent back to the developer's agents for eventual further review by the SMDC Case officer.

3. Having discussed at length the various unresolved issues arising from the continued delay, the following actions were agreed:-

  a) DF has contacted SMDC’s Operations Manager (Development Services) about the situation and is awaiting replies to two emails promised on or around the end of the month He will continue to gauge via the Operations Manager whether or not the continuing delays alter the circumstances sufficiently for the possibility of SMDC refusing the applications outright, and/or encouraging another application and /or that the developer go to an appeal to the Govt as a result of non-determination. Also he will try to find out under what format any appeal to Govt would be likely to take given the current Covid crisis; either written only /virtual / online / in camera or open to the public as normal.
  b) DF will also investigate the fire safety regulations governing the parking of individual cars next to each lodge / caravan as per the revised layout, to see if it poses a serious fire safety risk as it has been observed that if this development was of Centre Parks standard, this current plan would not come up to that standard despite being touted as such by the developer since its inception.
  c)  DW to contact the Support Officer at SMDC over the issue of not being able to examine the current planning files as usual on SMDC’s own public access computers in Leek because of Covid restrictions and to seek permission for an online password so that they could be accessed remotely in the interests of public accountability and probity in planning. The requirement would be to enable a read only profile to be available to the public.
  d) JS to pursue inquiry via FOIA request for details of the recent meeting between the developer and SMDC at Moneystone Quarry.
  e) DW to write to the SMDC Case Officer and Operations Manager on some outstanding points concerning the legal status of the lab buildings and stability issues in quarry 3 which need further clarification.
  f) DW also to contact SCC’s Principal Planning Regulation Officer over the impact upon the agreed restoration plan of 2014 as quarry 2 is no longer in the frame for development yet remains contaminated and unrestored. This is also a departure from the 2016 outline planning permission.
  g) JS will make a reply to the recent letter received as Chair of CVCS from SMDC’s new Chief Executive he feels there are some aspects of the letter that need to be discussed further.
  h) Concerning raising the CVCS profile, more publicity was advocated and DF, through his current contacts with the Leek Post and Times reporter, will try to encourage him to write about the concerns and danger of the quarry 3 instability with the lakeside lodges and public safety.
  i) JS will look into the possible angle that Moorlands Radio might consider a potential interview or article/item about CVCS,its aims and long term ambitions for the protection of the Churnet Valley by the acquisition of AONB status as a part of CVCS’s publicity campaign.
  j) Committee members and more importantly the public are to be encouraged to write to the local press over the Christmas period to raise awareness of the problems at the quarry and the reasons for opposing the applications especially as the circumstances surrounding the original scheme have changed so much over the last ten years.
  k) Following a request from a CVCS member, enquires are to be made regarding the original AONB application document and whether they require to be reviewed and updated if necessary.
  l) Tactical issues in the run up to the eventual PAC: - JW will produce an event timeline for members to suggest actions...letters to PAC members...letters to the local press...interview on Moorlands Radio etc.

4.Whiston Golf Course
Local residents have raised concerns with CVCS over the introduction of static caravans near the fishponds off Blakeley Lane for which there appears to be no planning permission.
This follows on from the illicit dumping of spoil from various excavations around the Hall and surrounding buildings on the embankment of the former plateway that runs across the course and is a recognised heritage asset.
SCC officers including the County Archaeologist are investigating and CVCS will now draw the latest matter to the immediate attention of the ward’s two District Councillors as it is an SMDC concern as well.

5. Next Zoom meeting is scheduled for Thursday 7th January 2021.

 

 

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Who Are We?

Churnet Valley Conservation Society dates back to the early 1980s and is a recognised stakeholder by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council.  We are concerned with the whole of the Churnet Valley and wish to represent the interests of local inhabitants, human and wildlife. Join our growing membership so that our collective voice is even louder. Please help us in "keeping an eye on the valley" to protect it from undesirable development.



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Our Vision 

 The valley must be an excellent rural living environment which also attracts countryside visitors to enjoy the pleasures of the landscape and appreciate the fascination of its industrial heritage. We do not expect the valley to be frozen in time, it must evolve in line with modern living but at the same time preserve the tranquility of this unique area. Many projects and developments will be proposed on both a large and small scale, all of these must support our vision. We hope that future generations will look back at what is decided now and thank us for the care and effort involved in sustaining and evolving this part of North Staffordshire.