Stop Haytop Country Park redevelopment

Haytop Country  Park was operated as a seasonal and holiday  caravan site since 1952. It is situated in the small village of Whatstandwell,  near Matlock, Derbyshire, in the  scenic Derwent Valley. The site is in a Conservation Area, adjacent to a SSSI and within the UNESCO Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site buffer zone.

The site was bought in 2016 by a company owned by Mr and Mrs A. Barney, who also own several residential park home sites around the UK.  Existing caravan owners were evicted at short notice and site development was begun with the removal of more than 150 trees covered by a Tree Preservation Order. The owners were fined the paltry sum of £3000 for that.

Land development works were started, despite there being no approvals from Amber Valley Borough Council, the responsible Local Planning Authority. An application for the site to be used for the establishment of up to 60 lodges for permanent residences was refused by AVBC in 2017. Several other applications were also refused but the developer continued to work on the reshaping of the land, installation of hard-standings, lodges, roads, etc.

There has been much opposition to the development because of its negative environmental impacts and loss of amenity value to an area which is one of the gateways to the Peak District National Park. When granting planning permission in 1966 the LPA stated that the site was "not felt to be suitable for use as a permanent residential caravan site." In addition to many objections from local residents others  have come from two Parish Councils, the DVMWHS Partnership, CPRE, Natural England, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, etc.  More details can be found on the website and blog of the Whatstandwell & Alderwasley Community Action Group (WACAG) at .

In 2018 WACAG sought the advice of a leading planning barrister, who delivered an opinion on the legal interpretation of the two existing planning permissions and the documentation submitted by the owner in support of another planning application. That application was eventually refused. Funding for that legal consultation was provided by a few local residents.

In March 2019 AVBC issued Enforcement Notices to Haytop's owners which require them to remove the park home lodges and restore the site to its condition prior to 2017. The owners have appealed against those notices and the issue will now be decided by the Planning Inspectorate on a date yet to be announced. Meanwhile the site owners submitted yet another application -  for a  Lawful Development Certificate for siting 30 "caravans" (i.e. park lodges, as shown) for residential use and 30 more for 12 month holiday occupation. The decision date for that application is scheduled for 24th June. It is the view of WACAG that there is no legal basis for AVBC to grant that certificate because it is not in line with the extant planning permissions and how the site was used in the past. 

An urgent consultation with the barrister is necessary but we are unlikely to be able to afford the additional cost of around £2200 without some help. We are therefore asking for support from the wider community who have an interest in preserving the amenity value of the Derwent Valley while protecting the wildlife and environment of  Alderwasley Conservation Area and the adjacent Shining Cliff Wood (a SSSI part-owned by The National Trust) and reducing the risk of pollution to the River Derwent itself.

Local residents are not NIMBYs. Haytop has been a caravan and camping site since 1952 without any objection or complaints from neighbours. However, it is clear from the behaviour and attitudes of the present owners that they have little or no regard for anyone or anything other than financial gain. Incidentally, this is not the first occasion where their behaviour has been brought into question (see ).

WACAG will be most grateful for any help we may receive to try to stop the conversion of a quiet, secluded holiday park into what, in effect, would be a housing estate with 60 or so permanent  homes. As an illustration of what that might produce here is a projection submitted by the owner in support of his planning application.

Note, however, that there are only about 45 lodges shown. Where will the other 15 be placed? They could only be fitted in in the area below the bottom of this image, which is approaching the river bank and would involve the felling of even more trees.

Is this what you want? If not, please act and help to spread the word.

Organizer and beneficiary

Joseph Green
Don Zmarzty

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