Statement from Laver Leisure following Planning Committee decision

Following the recent planning committee decision, please see below a statement from Laver Leisure:

Naturally we are very disappointed that the officer’s recommendation for approval has been overturned. Moneystone Quarry was identified as an ‘opportunity site’ in the Churnet Valley Masterplan, a key planning policy document which was subject to extensive public consultation over several years, including with local parish councils. The Masterplan, which sets out a plan for sustainable tourism and economic growth for this area in the future, was recently approved by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and by an independent Government Inspector.

The Churnet Valley Masterplan clearly identifies Moneystone Quarry for a leisure development with up to 250 lodges, with associated recreation facilities and a hub building, which is precisely what we have been proposing. During the production of the Masterplan, the local authority commissioned independent transport consultants who assessed the site and concluded that Moneystone Quarry is suitable for a leisure development of this type from a highways perspective. Our planning application included a separate expert highways assessment which was reviewed by the local Highways Authority who raised no objection. Therefore to have the application turned down on highways grounds is very difficult to understand, especially as, when operational, the quarry was served daily by a large number of HGVs and cars. Added to this, the other main statutory consultees, including Natural England, Historic England and the council’s Environmental Health Officer have all rigorously assessed the application and raised no objections.

Our planning application is in accordance with the Churnet Valley Masterplan and the Council’s own Core Strategy for development, as acknowledged by the officer’s report. Therefore, this decision poses a number of difficult questions for Staffordshire Moorlands District Council. Not least in that it sends out a very clear message to potential investors that the Moorlands are currently closed for business. Economic and business investment will be curtailed, which is desperately bad news for the area as a whole.

Once we have received the official reasons for refusal from the local authority, we will take legal advice before deciding on our next steps. Laver Leisure own the site and has been developing these proposals for nearly five years. We believe strongly in the benefits the scheme will deliver locally, not least of which is 250 local jobs.

Pete Swallow, Laver Leisure

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