In last week’s Leek Post & Times newspaper (16/09/15), the Churnet Valley Conservation Society criticised our plans for Moneystone Park. We have responded in this week’s Leek Post (23/09/15) and our letter is posted below:
I write in response to last week’s letter from the Churnet Valley Conservation Society (CVCS) about our proposals for Moneystone Park. The letter contains a number of points which need to be addressed.
Laver Leisure has provided fact-based evidence to support our planning application. This evidence covers a wide-range of issues including transport, environmental aspects and the visual impact of our proposals. All of this supporting evidence is available for the general public to review on Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s website.
CVCS hint that we want to ‘spread’ our development across the valley. On the contrary, our designers have used the topography and layout of this naturally well-screened former quarry, to carefully position lodges and leisure facilities to ensure that views into the site are protected. The planning application states the provision and location of leisure facilities and a defined quantity of up to 250 holiday lodges. This is illustrated by a very clear masterplan which is available on our website www.moneystonepark.co.uk.
Our planning application aims to create an attractive, sustainable and nature-focused facility, aimed at families and those who enjoy an outdoor active lifestyle. In doing this, we would argue that Moneystone Park will enhance the potential for the Churnet Valley achieving Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) status by regenerating a former quarry and delivering significant enhancements to landscape features and planting. The local environment will be carefully managed for the benefit of flora and fauna in the long term.
Moneystone Park will not be a ‘theme’ park, instead it will be a country park. Moneystone Park will be open to the public and there will be free access for people wishing to enjoy outdoor activities such as cycling and walking or to make use of horse-riding bridleways. Clearly ‘thrillseeker’ rides are not part of what we are trying to achieve here.
CVCS query the possible impact on local roads, but fail to mention that a transport assessment and travel plan has already been submitted as part of our planning application. This information, which considers highway capacity, trip generation and safety amongst other things, has been reviewed by the highways authority and no objections have been raised, subject to appropriate conditions.
As CVCS suggest, we envisage that some of our staying guests would want to visit Alton Towers and through an on-site tourism information point, we will actively encourage visits to other fantastic local attractions like the Churnet Valley Railway, Peak Wildlife Park, Dimmingsdale, the Staffordshire Peak District and the towns of Cheadle and Leek. We’re sure that staying guests will also go further afield to Trentham, Shugborough or the Potteries.
We believe that Moneystone Park offers an opportunity to further diversify the local economy. It is sad to note that Whiston has recently lost its only pub. It is our intention to work with local pubs, cafes and restaurants to ensure that they fully benefit from the tourism spend which Moneystone Park will bring. Research suggests that our development could bring £1 million per year of additional spending which could create as many as 78 new jobs in the local area. This is in addition to the 250 jobs created on site. We will work with the local authority and other agencies to ensure that local people and companies benefit, wherever possible, from the jobs and investment created.
As an organisation, CVCS has an objective to ‘encourage and support a vibrant and sustainable economy with a local focus’. We fully support that objective and believe that this is exactly what Moneystone Park will help to achieve.