Plans for the redevelopment of a rural business park have passed the first hurdle to getting planning permission from the Peak District National Park Authority.
Owners of the Rockmill Business Park at Stoney Middleton want to redevelop the site and create a heritage centre with café and community facility, craftwork units, retail space, car park and tourist accommodation with underground parking.
Members of the Authority’s planning committee recommended that outline planning permission for the redevelopment should be granted.
They noted this would be an exception to national park planning policy, which does not normally allow development outside a village boundary or new build holiday accommodation, so the application must be taken to the Full Authority meeting on March 30 for the final decision to be made.
Planning committee members supported the application because:
· It could support or create new jobs in Stoney Middleton - a village with an industrial past that has suffered in recent years with business closures and job losses. There is an established need for more local employment. It could support or create new jobs
· More tourist accommodation is required in the national park and Derbyshire Dales area.
· Income from staying visitors will support other local businesses.
· The development will provide much needed facilities for local community groups.
· Landscape impact is reduced as it is in a gorge location and it is an existing business park on a roadside site.
John Herbert, chair of the planning committee, said: “This is an exceptional case in unique circumstances, where the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, which is why we are recommending an exception is made to our policies.
“This is an exciting opportunity to enhance an important site at the gateway to the village, to improve facilities for the community and visitors and provide local jobs.
“I have been impressed by the strength of support for the redevelopment of Rockmill from the people who live and work in Stoney Middleton.”
Seven people spoke at the meeting in support of the plans including local councillors, residents and businesses. The Authority received no objections to the proposals.
The committee recommended that the Authority grants permission with planning conditions that will limit the size, scale and style of the building and take into account café opening hours, ensure community use, consider ecological issues, highways authority advice, environmental concerns and flood risk.