Council demands more detail on controversial water park plans close to memorial to Nottinghamshire soldiers
Councillors are demanding more detailed information from developers about their plans for a controversial giant water park in a quarry.
Derbyshire Council has served a Regulation 25 notice on BMET, the firm behind plans to turn the derelict Crich Quarry site into the Amber Rock Resort, close to Crich Stand.
BMET submitted its water park resort plans in February.
Now, after a number of key objections from organisations giving their assessments on the proposed scheme, and hundreds of letters from opposing residents – including fears over its effect on nearby Crich Stand – the council has served a formal notice to the developer, demanding widespread extra information.
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This information must be provided for the council to reach a decision, otherwise, under environmental impact legislation, the application would be rejected on the grounds of insufficient information.
The developer must supply information explaining how it intends to cut and fill in parts of the derelict quarry to make way for the resort, along with details of the vibration impact, blasting scheme and traffic movements.
It must also provide more details about how the scheme will handle traffic when open and assessments of junctions around the site to examine the potential impact on road safety.
The council’s highways department says in the notice ‘there are too many outstanding issues not addressed’, ‘strongly’ reiterating the resort ‘must not become a visitor attraction for daily car-borne visitors, apart from anybody arriving on foot, by bus or bicycle’.
The council’s landscape officer has submitted a statement detailing how the resort’s impact on the surrounding area has not been explored. This includes the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, ancient woodland, a number of conservation areas and listed buildings – including the Crich Stand military memorial which sits on the lip of the quarry itself.
Crich Stand was built in 1922-23, shortly after the end of World War I. 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.
The landscape officer says this has been ‘under-assessed’ and claims there has been ‘no recognition of the wider landscape sensitivity…within a landscape of significant landscape value and sensitivity at the county scale’.
They also say the impact of further quarrying required to convert the site into a resort has not been assessed and say that a number of key viewpoints, from which the site is clearly visible, have not been investigated.
Historic England also says documentation providing an assessment of the scheme is ‘insufficient’, particularly the potential impact on Crich Stand, along with light pollution.
Further information assessing surrounding heritage assets has been requested.
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust also says the supplied information is ‘insufficient’ and a suitable biodiversity impact assessment needs to be submitted, with references to badgers, reptiles, bats and peregrine falcons.
BMET’s water park resort plans include a 152-bed hotel, 128 straw-bale lodges, an indoor water park, 210 holiday apartments, an indoor/outdoor climbing centre, heritage centre, cliff-top restaurant, sports complex and more.
Documents submitted with the application claim the project will have the ‘highest sustainable credentials’ and create 561 full-time and part-time jobs when it is complete, with 200 people to be employed for the construction stages.
If approved, it is expected to take about five years to complete.