The light and noise from a potential water park in a Derbyshire quarry would destroy the ‘quiet contemplation’ of an adjacent memorial site, heritage and conservation experts say. Historic England, a government department specializing in heritage, has strongly opposed BMET Limited’s plans to turn the abandoned Crich Quarry into a water park.
The extended objection could prove to be a significant stumbling block for applicants, with consultations on the project a month away from ending. Derbyshire County Council will make a decision on the plans in the coming months.
In its letter of objection, Historic England details that Crich Stand – a memorial for the Sherwood Foresters Regiment which overlooks the quarry – is a Grade II* listed building and is a ‘place of quiet contemplation’. It says: ‘We believe that the intensive urban nature of the proposed development, together with the noise and light pollution, would cause a very negative impact on the setting of Crich Stand, which would seriously damage its significance.’
Read more: Get the latest stories from Derbyshire County Council
The organization also says it would damage the landscape of Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, which has been under threat in recent years due to a series of dilapidated developments and historic buildings. Historic England states: ‘No clear and convincing justification is provided for the scale of the proposed development or the potential harm to heritage significance which would likely result.’
He says Crich Stand, built in 1922-23, designed to look like an indoor lighthouse, has “considerable rarity value”. The organization says: “In our view, there is a high likelihood of intrusive views of the proposed development in juxtaposition with Crich Stand on its cliff.
“The urban character and incongruous scale of the proposed development would be particularly evident in the views from the tower’s viewing platform, from where there are currently unobstructed views directly over the quarry. It would be inevitable that the proposed outdoor activities lead to noise and light pollution, which would be impossible to mitigate.
“The noise and light that would emanate from the proposal would have an extremely detrimental impact on the tranquil nature of the immediate surroundings of the memorial tower. next to the tower would lessen the impact of the memorial lighthouse.
“It would be unrealistic to suggest that the potential light intrusion of a development of the size and nature proposed could be mitigated.”
BMET Limited has been approached for comment by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, but the company’s agent said he did not wish to comment at this time.
Cllr Paul Yorke, chairman of Crich Parish Council, said the authority had voted unanimously against the water park resort plans, believing it would have a ‘huge detrimental impact on the landscape, environment and surrounding traffic infrastructure. He said: “This totally inappropriate proposal fails to protect the landscape and character of the parish of Crich.
“In particular, it would destroy the tranquility of the nationally significant Crich Stand and War Memorial, which remain historic sites commemorating the sacrifices made by our armed forces in many conflicts. “Since the quarry closed, it has become a thriving habitat for diverse flora and fauna.
“The plans do not recognize the unsuitable nature of Crich’s rural road system. “There is already significant traffic pressure through Crich and the surrounding villages. The roads here are frankly insufficient to support this development.
“There are many narrow lanes, difficult junctions and pinch points. Furthermore, we do not believe that the request took into account the safety and well-being of the children attending the schools in the village. The plans submitted to the county council detail that the resort would have a 152-bed hotel, 128 thatched pavilions, an indoor water park, 210 holiday apartments, an indoor/outdoor climbing center and a heritage centre, a restaurant on top of a cliff, sports complex and more.
All of the site’s car parks would be “underground” and accessible through tunnels, the application details, with space for 634 cars, five LCVs, 100 bicycles and 30 motorbikes. The project would create 561 full-time and part-time jobs when completed, with 200 people to be employed for the construction stages, according to the developers.
Public consultation on the plans for the water park closes on Tuesday 19 April and the application can be viewed in full by visiting the county council’s planning portal and searching for application CM6/0122/28.