Fears water park plan would wreck ‘tranquil contemplation’ of memorial to Nottinghamshire soldiers

Light and noise from a potential water park resort would wreck the ‘tranquil contemplation’ of an adjacent memorial site, claim heritage and conservation experts.

By Eddie Bisknell
Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 4:23 pm

Historic England, a Government department specialising in heritage, has objected to BMET’s plans to turn the derelict Crich Quarry into a water park resort.

In its objection letter to Derbyshire Council, Historic England says the Grade-II* listed Crich Stand – a memorial for the Sherwood Foresters Regiment which overlooks the quarry – is a ‘quiet place of contemplation’.

It says: “We believe the intensive urban nature of the proposed development, along with the noise and light pollution, would result in a highly adverse impact on the setting of Crich Stand, that would result in serious harm to its significance.”

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Crich Stand, by Roxanne Farrow.

The organisation also says it would harm the landscape of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, which has come under potential threat in recent years due to a series of developments and disrepaired historic buildings.

Historic England says: “No clear and convincing justification is provided for the scale of development proposed or the potential harm to the significance of heritage assets that would be likely to result.”

It says Crich Stand, built in 1922-1923, shortly after the end of World War I, has ‘considerable rarity value’.

Designed to look like an inland lighthouse, it was built as a memorial to fallen heroes of the Sherwood Foresters Regiment, which recruited across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and lost 11,409 men in the Great War.

Inside the vast quarry.

Historic England said: “In our view there is a strong likelihood of intrusive views of the proposed development in juxtaposition with Crich Stand on its clifftop.

“The incongruous urban character and scale of the proposed development would be particularly obvious from the viewing platform of the tower, from where there are clear views into the quarry.

“It would be inevitable the proposed outdoor activities would result in noise and light pollution, which it would be impractical to mitigate.

“The noise and light that would emanate from the proposal would have a harmful impact on the tranquil nature of the immediate setting of the memorial tower.

“It should be noted the memorial was designed as a lighthouse. A substantial illuminated development immediately alongside the tower would diminish the impact.

“It would be unrealistic to suggest the potential light intrusion from a development of the size and nature proposed could be mitigated.”

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BMET, which is planning a 152-bedroom hotel, 128 straw-bale lodges, an indoor water park, 210 holiday apartments, an indoor/outdoor climbing centre and a heritage centre, a cliff-top restaurant, sports complex and more, declined to comment.

Coun Paul Yorke, Crich Parish Council chairman, said the authority felt the resort would have an ‘enormous detrimental impact on the surrounding landscape, environment and traffic infrastructure’.

He said: “This inappropriate proposal fails to protect the landscape and character of Crich parish.

“In particular, it would destroy the tranquillity of Crich Stand and the war memorial, of national significance, which remain historic sites commemorating the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces in numerous conflicts.

“Since the quarry closed, it has become a thriving habitat for diverse flora and fauna.

“The plans fail to acknowledge the unsuitable nature of Crich’s rural road system. The roads here are inadequate to sustain this development.”

Public consultation on the plans ends on April 19.

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