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CHURNET VALLEY CONSERVATION SOCIETY

                       protecting and conserving this natural area of outstanding beauty  

                                                        

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1) It now appears that the Moneystone Holiday Development will be determined by the SMDC PLanning Applications Committee on Thursday 20th august 2020. All three of the current applications SMD/2019/0646, 0716 and 0725 will be dealt with. We can still send in our objections to these Applications by Laver Leisure although they may now be classe as late representations.


No matter if you have objected to the previous applications you need to send in our objections AGAIN (yes !!!) because their previous application was for outline permission only and so they have applied again, this time to gain the full planning permission necessary to start construction..

You will need to do 3 things:

 

a.      Read the document set out below which summarises the Issues regarding the development. Select from the document the topic(s) those you wish to comment on and to make more impact add your words and comments wherever you can.

b.       Send in your objection to Jane Curley, the Planning Officer in charge of getting the Laver application through the Planning Application Committee (PAC). You can send your objection in by clicking on this link and filling in the form online. The links are displayed in the minutes below.

Additionally if you sent objections to the previous application you might also like to copy and paste this into the objection box online:

 

1. As someone who wrote objecting to SMD/2014/0682 and /or SMD/2016/0378 and noting that SMD/2019/0646 is put forward as a resubmission of 0682 and also reliant on 0378 I require that my earlier objections be brought forward in full to be considered in SMD/2019/0646.


2. The 0646/0682/0378 applications did not and does not comply with the policies of the SMDC Core Strategy or the policies of the Churnet Valley Master plan.

 

3.      Send in your objections to all the individual Councillors.


Why? because none of your objections or your reasons for them will be given to the Councillors. The Officer Jane Curley will simply note the number of responses summarise the issues and provide her counter arguments in her report for PAC members to read. This tactic has worked in the past as Councillors become more aware of the public's (voters) concerns and more informed of the issues you raise.
If we want to help the Councillors to understand the grave nature of the impact of this planning application, we need to make the arguments directly to them. You can do this by cutting and pasting the following email addresses into your address bar with the SUBJECT being OBJECTIONS TO MONEYSTONE PARK DEVELOPMENT SMD/2019/0646

paul.roberts@staffsmoorlands.gov.ukben.emery@staffsmoorlands.gov.ukbill.cawley@staffsmoorlands.gov.uksue.coleman@staffsmoorlands.gov.ukjim.davies@staffsmoorlands.gov.ukkeith.flunder@staffsmoorlands.gov.ukmike.gledhill@staffsmoorlands.gov.ukkeith.hoptroff@staffsmoorlands.gov.uk; alan.hulme@staffsmoorlands.gov.uklinda.lea@staffsmoorlands.gov.ukteresa.riley@staffsmoorlands.gov.ukian.whitehouse@staffsmoorlands.gov.ukpeter.wilkinson@staffsmoorlandstony.holmes@staffsmoorlands.gov.uk

 

 Of course you can address each Councillor individually in each email should you wish !! Alternatively, you can also post the objection addressed to each Councillor to the Council Offices in Leek: Councillor X, SMDC, Moorlands House, Stockwell St, Leek, Staffs, ST13 6HQ

 

Each letter must be INDIVIDUAL to be counted. So in a household each person should send their own objection to increase objection count. A single letter with 100 signatures only counts as '1'.

 

Here is a sample template for an idea, but please express your views in your own words:


 

Your Address


 

Dear Councillor,


I would like to tell you why I am registering an objection to planning application SMD/2019/0646 for developing the closed quarry at Moneystone in the Churnet Valley.

This application was originally rejected by your committee in 2014 but inexplicably with no significant alteration it was passed in 2016.

I would like you to seriously review and reconsider the inclusions in the reserved matters planning application as the following issues concern us as residents of this Valley:

1.    The traffic ___________(in  your own words perhaps using the summary attachment)

2.    The Environment and its impact ____________(in your own words)

3.    Unnecessary Development __________(in  your own words)

 

Why damage this beautiful tranquil Churnet Valley with this unnecessary development?


Why damage the prospect of this valley being granted AONB status, particularly when it is the declared wish of the Staffordshire Moorlands Council itself?

I ask you to review and reconsider the application in the light of the above points raised.


Yours Sincerely,


Fred(a) Bloggs


Your Address

 

Minutes of CVCS Virtual Committee Meeting

1st July 2020 commencing 7.30 pm

 

Online attendees:- John Williams (JW) Chair John Steele (JS) Dave Fowler (DF) and Dave Walters (DW)

 

No apologies received.

 

Agenda based upon developments/actions from previous meeting as follows: -

 

1.Press Coverage

 

DF reported upon the press coverage in the local paper expressing CVCS’s point of view on the latest proposals which, though the article itself omitted some of the details and information that it was hoped would be carried, nevertheless it did give details for the public to use if they wished to respond or send comments to SMDC planners.

 

2. Letters of objection

 

The agreed scheme with WAG to promote an increase in objector's letters by making customised copies available to people who might want to add to the overall volume of such in the three current proposals continues. JW has the necessary audio technology to assist in the production process and it was agreed that CVCS funds would be used to meet any additional costs involved in the printing.

 

3. Dumping / use of fill materials in Quarry 3

 

JS has written to the case officer Jane Curley to express serious concerns over the proposals within the planning application regarding the lowering of the levels in Quarry 3 and plans to send in a further request to require the agents for the developers to confirm their intentions in quantifiable terms and avoid last minute variance in the tonnages and types of material and methods that might have to be used to achieve their goal.

 

4. Contamination and Hydrological Issues

 

JS also reported that he had discussed with knowledgeable residents the matter of the locality and identification of toxic materials dumped in 2016 in Quarry 2 and would seek more information from the WAG member who holds the analyst’s report, so that he can take issue with SMDC about the risks of further contamination from below ground percolation between the two quarries. He would also raise the issue of the acidity levels already existing in the water as evidenced by the lack of vegetational growth and barrenness around the Quarry 3 lake area even after 10 years of neglect and inactivity.

 

JW raised the question of how much the syphoning of water was likely to be affecting the nearby SSSI’s and SBI and produced copies of location plan for review.

 

DF reported that the Forestry Commission are in the process of checking the future plans that might affect or impact upon their access to and their interests in and around Key Wood in view of rumours about a water slide.

 

5. Virtual Planning Meetings

 

JS reported upon the outcomes and shortcomings of the recent introduction of virtual planning meetings online to cope with the backlog of applications during lockdown.  DF had not been able to speak to SMDC Councillor Peter Wilkinson to find out his reaction and that of his fellow councillors on the PAC to the teething difficulties of the system so far.

For example, JS highlighted the very subjective and restrictive nature of the virtual site visit simulation achieved by a hand-held camera taken around by an SMDC planning officer. This would not work well in a large and complex site such as at the Moneystone Quarry where there were so many wider landscape issues and impacts to be considered.

 

It was agreed that CVCS would strongly oppose any attempt for the Moneystone Quarry applications to be dealt with in such a manner because of the contentiousness of the proposals and the volume of public interest and opposition. 

 

Also JS and DF would be in touch with Ben Haywood at SMDC with this in mind and to stress the need to hold the meeting later in the year once the lockdown measures were sufficiently eased to allow a normal planning hearing to take place.

 

6.Crowtrees Farm

 

More viewing had taken place but the asking price is still too high given the development prospects next door despite the price reduction.

 

7.Whiston Golf Course

 

CVCS is still supportive of local opposition to the plans to dump material as a part of landscaping and reconfiguration of some of the course. To refuse the application the planning officer needs more stringent planning reasons to be forwarded by opponents of the plan especially from the golfing fraternity that could stand up to independent scrutiny if it went to appeal upon a refusal being given.

 

Destruction of the Great Crested Newt pond and the unpermitted development of buildings remains a growing concern for Whiston residents.

 

JS will contact a planning professional to ask advice.

 

8.AOB

 

i) JW reported a response from the case officer that his numerous suggested health and safety issues arising from the future use of the site especially around the lake in quarry 3 were not relevant to the overall consideration of the current plans, though he had several more identified from the recent additions to the application and would be raising those matters too.

ii) The hearing of the 3 current application for 23rd July was still posted on the SMDC website but it is believed it won't happen because Laver Leisure have reportedly made a plea to extend the period of preparation to the 30th July at least.

iii) JW raised the issue of encouraging known members who have not yet sent in comments on 0646 to do so, especially those who have written in opposition to previous Moneystone applications.

 

9. Date for next Virtual Committee Meeting

 

This will be 5th August unless something untoward occurs that requires earlier action.


 


Notes from CVCS Committee virtual meeting June 17th 2020 commencing 7.30 pm

On screen;-  John Steele (JS) , Dave Fowler (DF) John Williams (JW) and Dave Walters (DW)
Apologies received from Claire Skitt.
1. Press report
DF reported that there was an article about Laver and Moneystone Quarry and Kingsley
Parish Council  in the Leek Post and Times this week and so it was agreed he’d  approach
Les Jackson to do a press release to balance the view for CVCS. 
2.Letter writing
Promotion of more objection letters to  SMD/2019/0646, SMD/2019/07i6 and SMD/2019/0725 needed
to boost numbers before the scheduled PAC meeting in July or August ,depending upon circumstances.
JS to send out note to generate more letters from CVCS committee members if possible, via
Peter Cowie's scheme.
JW to encourage more CVCS members to write once again when the date for the PAC hearing is confirmed.
3. Raising the level of the Lake in Quarry 3  as per 0646 plan.
JS still unsatisfied with Jane Curley's reply to his earlier inquiry. So he will once again raise the issue of the
level of the lake; its methodology; the amount of infill needed; the acidity and /or toxicity of the water in the 
lake because of seepages from Q2 and past industrial  processes and residues, in his capacity as Kingsley
Parish Councillor.
He will also contact Ivan Kent re  the report on the dumped material in 2016 which is still lying there and leaching out *   
* A passing thought for DF's article to LJ  on the lines of 'Pollution Threat to holiday lake from Owner’s
Failure to restore Quarry at Moneystone” .
4. PAC meeting dates and agenda order
JS and  DF to inquire of Pat Trafford (SMDC) regarding success of protocol after next week's virtual PAC meeting.
DF and JS will also try to find out from Pat the order for the proposed hearing of the three applications for Moneystone  Quarry;
SMD/2019/0646, SMD/2019/0725 and SMD/20190716.
5. Protocol of zoom PAC  meeting at SMDC
DF to contact Peter Wilkinson re the Raddle application and its hearing  to find out more about it and how democratic
the process of a virtual PAC meeting is.
6. JS to inquire further into application and hearing of such re  Broad Oak application also  next week.
it was noted that there is a distinct difference in attitude towards virtual or real time PAC meetings within SMDC and SMD/2019/0646 .
Case officer Jane Curley wants it done asap, whereas Ben Hayward and Chair Paul Roberts want it done under normal conditions. 
7. Whiston Golf Course Reprofiling
JS reported that the case officer still needs more planning reasons to refuse the application in case it goes to appeal as at present
there is insufficient evidence for her to confidently defend such a decision.
JS agreed to ask Jez Willard, a keen golfer who has used the course and being a retired town planner, has offered advice to Kingsley
Parish Council on how to build up the evidence against the use of dumping waste in the process of re configuring the site  when it
doesn't require anything other than better maintenance and drainage to improve it .
8. Sale of Crowtrees farm
Laver have reduced the price but are selling all the property in one lot and asking £750,000. Motives for sale remain in doubt.
9.Planning objections to MQ’s current applications
JW expressed his concern that although he has found many new faults within the new  proposal documents, he is keen to find
sound enough planning reasons to overturn the decision when the time comes for the applications to be considered, rather than just
delay the process.
To that end CVCS need to look further into all the complexities of all the applications and use their findings in advance of the hearing
as a judicial review would not be a preferred option.     
10. Date for next virtual meeting Wednesday 1st July.

 


Bullet Point Topics for Letters to SMDC regarding SMD/2019/0646

TRAFFIC ISSUES

TRAFFIC VOLUMES WITH MONEYSTONE PARK

The Valley is looking at daily totals of 1136 – 1253 vehicles moving along these unsuitable, steep, narrow country lanes resulting for 190 lodges proposed.

40% of these lodges are being sold to Permanent Residents

60% are intended to accommodate Holiday Visitors.

SOURCES:

Lodge Occupancy and consequent Vehicle Numbers: Christie and Co were used as the informed source for occupancy information for all Moneystone applications to build the proposed holiday park. They quote an average of 67% fill throughout the year with a 96% maximum occupancy at the peak periods of the various school holidays. Other informed sources have stated the industry average for such holiday parks as that proposed for Moneystone is 85% whilst Centre Parcs has an average of 97% all year – a figure taken from a holiday industry monitoring website. This equates to the following vehicle 2 way trips each day extrapolated from SMD/2014/0682/SMD/2016/0378 Christie & Co figures, and are for both Peak Saturdays and Peak Sundays when 50% of all lodges will change-over each day, with there being no change-overs mid-week.

Two way trips                                      85% average fill          97% maximum fill

  1. 1.      Holidaying Visitors (60%)                          114                              171
  2. 2.      Permanent Residents (40%)                     100                              150
  3. 3.      Offsite visits by 1 & 2 (Estimate*)                          72                                82
  4. 4.      Staff (as per SMD/2014/0682)                 500                              500
  5. 5.      Day Visitors                                               340                              340
  6. 6.      Services Estimated)                                    10                                10
  7. 7.      Totals                                                      1136                            1253
  • * The estimated figure for offsite visits equates to one return trip to Alton Tower and one ‘evening out’ trip for 1/7th of the visitors.

These figures make few assumptions (see items 3, 6 and 10). Item 4 is taken from SMD/2014/0682 as no figure could be found for a reduction in staff numbers resultant from there being only 190 lodges to be built on Phase 1. All other figures are from professional information sources including those from Christie and Co which can be found in both SMD/2014/0682 and SMD/2016/0378.

 

DANGEROUS ROADS:

The roads leading to and from this proposed park are narrow, steep (in the descent through Oakamoor it is 15%)and have many tight, blind bends and crests making travel around the area much more hazardous for residents, tourists, day, staff, walkers, cyclists, horse riders and all commercial and agricultural road users due to the great increase in the total number of road users generated by Moneystone Park.

DANGEROUS ROAD JUNCTIONS:

The A52 junction with Whiston Eaves Lane is at the bottom of two downward slopes of the A52 – the approach from the west being off a tight bend. The annual growth of roadside vegetation combined with the hills and bend make this a very dangerous junction to navigate.

The road junctions within the village of Oakamoor with the B5417 road to Cheadle and Cotton, and onward towards Leek are a hazard:

  • Residents and visitors to the Village Hall and the Cricketers Pub park along Carr Bank right up to the junction, leaving a very narrow space, just a single car’s width, to enter and exit onto the B5417.
  • Even with the low numbers of vehicles at the moment lines of cars can be backed up along the B5417 trying to turn into the village as well as being backed up along Carr Bank within Oakamoor itself. This road through the village also has a very narrow bridge forming another pinch point for two way traffic.

OAKAMOOR VILLAGE SAFETY

A Primary and a Pre-School is situated in the small village of Oakamoor. This application with its increased traffic volume is a danger to the children who walk to their houses, to their parents’ cars and around the village to the local churches and across this road to the Village Hall.

The senior citizens as well as villagers use these roads to walk for healthy exercise and to walk their dogs and such large numbers of vehicles are a danger to them and their way of life is going to change considerably if this application is allowed.

WHISTON VILLAGE SAFETY

There are few footpaths within the village of Whiston, there being just a few very short sections along the intended main route to Moneystone Park. Pedestrians going to the children’s play and/or the village hall will need to walk on the carriageway for the greatest majority of the way, thus placing their lives in jeopardy form the huge increase in vehicular traffic using Whiston Eaves Lane to access Monestone Park.

ACCIDENTS:

There are an especially large number of roll-back incidents on Whiston Bank, most of which being resolved without recourse to police attendance. There have also been brake failures on HGC’s, one resulting in the death of the lorry driver and the near death of another HGC driver after coming down Kingsley Bank and crashing into the River Churnet.

Sat Navs send traffic up and down Farley Road, Oakamoor where 52 incidents and accidents are recorded in a dossier with the County Council. This a road that is particular hazardous to navigate as it is favourite short cut for Alton Towers traffic despite the tight bends and steep grades – and the numbers of accidents!

DIRECTION OF TRAFFIC ALONG NARROW ROADS

The proposal by Laver Leisure was to put up signs to direct traffic from the proposed park uphill through the village Whiston to the A52, however, fortunately PAC Councillors saw the impracticality and unenforceability of this as:

  • the local traffic will be using this road in both directions
  • It is a public highway and people have a right to turn down into Oakamoor and the hamlet of Moneystone.
  • Sat Navs all direct traffic out of the park down the hazardous lanes into Oakamoor and up the hazardous lane of Farley Road as the preferred route into the Valley, to Cheadle, towards the M1 via Denstone, Alton and Uttoxeter.
  • Alton Towers is just 3.8 miles and 10 minutes away from this park, via Oakamoor.

To quote SMDC’s own refusal notice “1. The proposal in isolation would be likely to lead to unsafe manoeuvres on the public highway and be likely to worsen highway safety in the locality contrary to policies DC1 – Design Considerations and T1 - Development and Sustainable Transport of the Staffordshire           Moorlands Core Strategy”

However, inexplicably, and in contradiction to its other related refused decision, the PAC allowed this self-, ridiculous No Right Turn proposal to be granted within the SMD/2016/0378 outline planning permission.

ACCESS FOR EMERGENCY SERVICES

 

This has not been properly considered and these Services have not been consulted as to the safety of the location and its access. They have not had a voice regarding the development of the former quarry with its inherent groundwork difficulties, its location off narrow, dangerous roads and the large numbers of people being present there on a permanent and semi-permanent basis.

 

The site will have people with medical needs in occupation. There will also be accidents to be responded to, relating both to the dangers of the narrow, steep roads leading into the Park with the large volume of vehicles being released onto them on a daily basis, as well as accidents relating to the Park facilities themselves:

 

In the refusal hearing in 2014 Councillors were anxious about the proximity of lodge frontages to the water's edge, especially for families with young children.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT:

 

AIR POLLUTION(PM10 - PM2.5), Nitrous Oxide (NO) and other vehicular pollutants:  Air can be contaminated by a range of very different particles such as dust, pollen, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets. Many of them can harm our health, especially very small particles that can enter deep into the lungs, such as those generated by vehicular exhausts and from rubber waste caused by tyre wear.

Airborne pollution can also hang around in the valley exposing not only residents, but holiday makers and staff to increased level of pollutant absorption.

OAKAMOOR CONSERVATION AREA: AIR QUALITY AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

Oakamoor is a Conservation Area. 

  • It should be protected from this level of traffic and pollution.
  • No impact study has been undertaken on the effects of increased traffic on Oakamoor Conservation Area.

 

It is situated at the bottom of a steep valley. and is vulnerable to emissions pollution and poor air quality being trapped in the village, particularly with the traffic jams which will be inevitable with the narrow pinch points along the roads through the village.

 

HABITATS, ANCIENT WOODLANDS AND SPECIES

 

Outlooks on Environmental Pollution and Protection have advanced in the decade since the quarry at Moneystone was active.

 

It should be remembered that this quarry was given permission to work on the condition that it was returned back to nature when quarrying ceased.

 

Wildlife has re-established itself since cessation and because there has been inadequate monitoring of the site since the 2014 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), a new one is urgently required. The original Environmental Impact Assessment was heavily criticised by the County Council in 2016.

There is no evidence of the shortcomings identified within the EIA by the County Ecologist being properly addressed.

ANCIENT WOODLAND

The ancient woodland of Frame Wood is vulnerable to damage from users of the cycleways proposed, as it cannot be guaranteed that cyclists will always remain on their designated paths.

The Woodland Trust has listed Frame Wood, a particularly sensitive and vulnerable area within the site, on their Ancient Woodland records. It is very concerned and opposed to the plans for developing a woodland cycle track by covering the areas around the trees with protective blankets. They state that “any disturbance to the root base of the ancient trees and the immediately adjacent support biosystems that have helped establish and nurture its unique ecology for centuries, should be avoided”.

 

There is concern around permission for mountain bikers in this habitat. Evidence for recent erosion and damage to ground surfaces caused by the increase usage by bikes in wooded hillsides elsewhere in the lower Churnet Valley is now becoming more apparent as overuse of newly created routes continues.

 

No valid Environmental Impact Assessment has taken place in relation to this Planning Application.

 

NOISE POLLUTION

 

Noise resulting from this very large man-made construction, the living accommodation of 190 – 250 lodges, the attending vehicles, the day and night leisure facilities that are to be offered to visitors and park residents will detract severely from the quality of the peaceful natural habitat of the Churnet Valley.

 

The noise will also affect neighbouring residents of farms and houses as well as those visitors who come here to enjoy the peace and calm of the valley’s natural environment.

 

All residents in the surrounding area can remember the disturbing reverberating noise from 24/7 plant machinery of the quarry which was granted temporary rights to quarry a rare silica for national need.

 

The valley and its residents have a right to have this quarry restored without man-made interference in its tranquil future, according to the original agreement with the County Council.

 

LIGHT POLLUTION:

In these days of preserving the night sky, and rare nocturnal habitats, it is concerning that this development should be considered let alone being considered as appropriate in this area of outstanding natural beauty, an impending AONB.

 

Lights from the 190 – 250 lodges themselves, parking areas, internal paths and access roads, large hub and other buildings hosting a concentration of facilities will be seen from miles away and affect the nocturnal habitats in this recognised area of outstanding natural habitat.

 

LITTER:

It cannot be guaranteed that people will keep all their rubbish in their vehicles as they travel around the valley. AltonTowers visitors are regularly see throwing rubbish out of their moving cars as they drive along local country lanes.

The nation is aware of the impact of this rubbish, tins, plastics, unrecyclable material on small animals and reptiles.

Staffordshire Moorlands District Councillors should be protecting their highly valuable nature areas, in keeping with their own policies on the Environment.

COUNCIL POLICY ON ENVIRONMENTAL SUPPORT

 

The Council’s own policy on the Environment should focus on this issue as being one of the greatest importance to its own part in the growing national and governmental commitment to improving impact on the Environment and on Climate Change.

 

This Valley is a microcosm of that need to take measures to protect our natural habitats, in particular this one of outstanding natural beauty and future AONB  - an application for which status is supported by the Council itself.

 

VISUAL IMPACT:  DESTRUCTION OF VIEWS OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY

 

The proposals for this development, with its lodges clustering very close to the clearly visible banks of panels of its solar farm aesthetically interferes with the whole spirit and nature of this uniquely beautiful, natural Churnet Valley.

 

The listed buildings nearby overlook the site and nothing short of building bunds to restrict views of the surrounding natural area would disguise this large settlement.

 

It should be noted that in this new application the site layout is even more crammed than originally accepted in the SMD/2016/0378 grant.

 

INAPPROPRIATE CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS

The whole design of the hub, lodges and ancillary buildings is not in any traditional local style or materials and therefore visually destroys the area.

 

SITE SAFETY CONCERNS

 

Drainage and Flooding risk

 

The problematic nature of the ground under the area to be developed is a concern given climactic change and greater storm flooding risks. The loss of natural drainage with the increase in hard surfaces or impermeable ground such as with the Hub building, parking lots for visitors and staff, the hard standings outside the Lodges, the new internal roads, drives, and paths has not been studied and is a risk.

 

It is not clear what flood prevention measures there are in the quarries with so many lodges being erected below the original water level. What are the spillway capacities, given the pattern of flash flooding of recent years caused by global warming?

 

There are other major water safety concerns too, as we are constantly told to keep out of flooded quarries because of cold water risks

 

CONSTRUCTION CONCERNS

 

Rock Wall Safety and Lodge foundations

 

Suitability of sandstone: Is the sandstone strong and stable enough to support lodges built on a combination of Gabions and poles/pillars (what is the construction of both items?)

 

Suitability of gradients (slopes): The angle of the slopes in the cross-sections is steep and site plans show no safety fencing to prevent people falling/rolling into the lake. There are no safety measures shown to prevent vehicles descending the slopes onto lower level lodges or into the lake should control of vehicles be compromised.

 

THIS IS AN UNNECESSARY DEVELOPMENT. WHY?

THE VALLEY HAS THESE FACILITIES ALREADY:

  • Alton Towers already supplies the thrills and adventures, the accommodation with hotels, chalets, pods, lodges, a 4D cinema, food and drink facilities, climbing areas, spa and water park etc on the other side of this beautiful valley, just 3.8 miles and 10 minutes drive away. Why spoil a nature playground such as the Churnet Valley to create a superfluous man-made disturbance right in the heart of its beauty and tranquillity?
  • Alton Towers also has improved access from motorways and major roads with the A50 Uttoxeter to Alton Growth Improvement scheme.
  • The argument for increased accommodation in the valley is now an outmoded one as there is more than sufficient currently being supplied.

 

THERE ARE NUMBERS OF LOCAL BUSINESSES TO SUPPORT TO THRIVE:

Locally there are already many leisure facilities and small food and services businesses for residents and visitors:

  • Cheadle and Leek have leisure centres with parks, gyms, swimming pools and classes as does Uttoxeter where there is also a bowling alley and cinema.
  • Whiston village hall has its own climbing wall. 
  • Alton, Denstone, Ipstones and Waterhouses all have local shops.
  • Local small food businesses in the Valley and surrounds such as cafes, tearooms, local pubs, restaurants, e.g.
    • Denstone has a farm shop and a number of small businesses providing a variety of services and shopping experiences
    • Winkhill’s Country Cottage restaurant and shop

 

  • Local small businesses supplying accommodation: B & Bs, family run hotels, guesthouses, chalets, self-catering holiday and farm lets which need to be supported to continue to sustain the families of the Staffordshire Moorland and the Churnet Valley.

 

None of these businesses will be benefitting from the Laver Leisure as the promised in-house establishments profit /revenues will be kept onsite.

 

This will not enrich or benefit the wider local communities

 

The Council supports Totally Locally and this large scale Laver Leisure development of accommodation and facilities is in contradiction of its own ethics of supporting the local economy.

 

COUNCIL POLICY ON SUSTAINABILITY

 

In accordance with the Council definitions of unsustainability, as written into the Core Strategy and the Churnet Valley Masterplan for SMDC, this whole project is unsustainable. This proposed development is solely reliant on vehicle usage for access to sustain the visitor numbers required to make the enterprise economically viable and in turn requires a greater number of long-term residential lodges to be privately owned.

 

There is no alternative transport such as buses available, and those would be an impractical form of transport for those 60% coming to stay at the Lodges, or for the 40% living permanently there, as they would still need to take their vehicles to their Lodges, not diminishing the number of vehicles entering and exiting the proposed Park. Similarly, the lack of public transport would result in day visitors having to use their cars to make use of the sites facilities. Also, the private lodge owners of Moneystone Park who might well chose to live there permanently or semi-permanently, would need their cars to access services in neighbouring towns, as well as possibly for work and social activities outside the site on a daily basis.

 

Another reason that this is not sustainable tourism is the potential size of a semi-permanent population in the Moneystone Park settlement:

 

  • This population will be far larger than the two traditional villages of Oakamoor and Whiston combined.

 

  • The size and layout of the 190-250 lodges is such that it alters the traditional character of the surrounding area outside the site.

 

  • Such an increased population will bring pressure on the neighbouring infrastructure in terms of resources such as health clinics etc. This is an impact that has not been considered.

 

AREA OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY

 

The recent ‘final report’ of DFRA’s Landscape Review published in September 2019 by Julian Glover on behalf of Michael Gove, ex Secretary of State for the Environment , informed us that the Churnet Valley is one of only 3 of the many possible areas being considered for Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) status. It has been specifically mentioned as having “made persuasive cases to us that deserve further consideration”.

It is to be remembered here that the quarrying company was granted permission to quarry at Moneystone on the condition that it was returned back to nature at the end of its working. We would request the Councillors to honour that in the spirit and in the act and protect the Valley and its opportunity to become an AONB.

To grant permission a development of this nature and scale will threaten the prospects of the Churnet Valley achieving this highly coveted status as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which is second only to a National Park designation. The location of Alton Towers on the other side of the valley together with this Laver Leisure proposed development and the extensive traffic, noise and light pollution will destroy the natural features of this beautiful Valley which has already received unofficial recognition to the degree that it has been included for consideration as an AONB.

AONB status

  • will protect the Churnet Valley and its unique landscape for the future and importantly for the Council.
  • will be a strong support to the promotion of tourism to the Staffordshire Moorlands area.
  • will bring in wider economic prosperity than that proposed by Laver Leisure.
  • has the potential to develop the surrounding villages and towns further as tourist locations providing strong income and population support as the number of small businesses increase

 

As a resident of the area and as a Churnet Valley Conservation Society member committed to the conservation of this wonderful area of outstanding natural features and a bright future as an AONB we urge the Council to seriously consider the issues outlined above and review what is appropriate development for the Churnet Valley.



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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.