Plans for glamping site in Chapel-en-le-Frith spark concerns over logistics, landscape and future development
Plans to create a luxury glamping site on farmland in Chapel-en-le-Frith have prompted a wave of objections from residents concerned about its impact on pristine landscape views, lack of infrastructure and potential to open the way to further development.
The application (HPK/2021/0388) from High Peak Retreat is seeking permission to change the use of designated agricultural land west of Long Lane, south of Chapel High School, and installation accommodation units, caravan pitches and associated facilities.
In a supporting statement lodged with High Peak Borough Council, the plans are described as “a small scale, high quality holiday retreat” but the site’s neighbours and other members of the community have taken issue with that description.
Much of the opposition is coming from residents of Bank Hall Drive, a private road which they own and which currently provides the only point of access to the site.
One, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Advertiser: “This is a tranquil area surrounded by farmland and it would absolutely destroy a massive swathe of pasture used by all manner of wildlife. They are trying to give people the impression the site would be idyllic and respectful. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“The amount of excavation needed for hard standings and bathroom facilities would destroy the environment.15 glamping units, five motor caravan pitches, on-site activities, the number of people attending and their cars – this is a large scale proposal. You would also lose a wonderful view towards Combs Reservoir as you come off Long Lane. You could never recover what would be lost.”
Even if successful, the owners of High Peak Retreat may face continued problems, given that the single-track Bank Hall Drive currently has limited rights of way for farming and pedestrian use.
Service connections such as electricity and water would also likely have to cross over it, although High Peak Retreat says it initially hopes to run off solar panels, a borehole and rainwater harvesting.
The challenges posed by the site mean that not everyone is convinced the developers’ intentions are genuine.
The Bank Hall resident said: “We feel it is a ploy, setting the business up to fail. There is currently a covenant on the land to preserve it for agricultural use. If that was removed, it could open the door to housing.”
In response, High Peak Retreat co-owner Sacha Cash said: “We’ve been happy to receive constructive feedback as this helps us grow along with Chapel residents and gain local support. We have tried to take objections on board and look at amending the application. All concerns are valid, we’ve tried to understand what people want and turn it positive. It would be such a shame for it to fall at the first hurdle due to people’s fear of any change.
“Right now we think tourism is a great use for the site. However if we do prove to be unsuccessful in the application for this eco-friendly, sustainable tourist venture, and the site were to be earmarked by the council for housing in the future, that’s because there’s always a demand for new housing. With the population ever increasing, and older buildings becoming less efficient, housebuilders will always be looking for new sites. People always say they don’t want it in their back yard but people need housing.”