Fears expansion of well-known pub’s car park would attract large numbers of “leisure drivers in performance cars” harming Peak District’s tranquillity

Officials fear the expansion of a well-known pub’s car park would attract large numbers of “leisure drivers in performance cars”, harming the Peak District’s tranquillity.
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The planned expansion is set to be approved by councillors, despite scores of objecting residents and opposition from eight parish councils.

After reopening in April following a year of closure, the owners of the Knockerdown Inn, off the B5035 close to Carsington Water, want to add a 32-space overflow car park.

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If approved by councillors on Tuesday, September 12, this would see the site increase its car parking facilities to 99 spots overall.

The Knockerdown Inn near Carsington WaterThe Knockerdown Inn near Carsington Water
The Knockerdown Inn near Carsington Water

Derbyshire Dales District Council planning officers have recommended that the plans should be approved.

This comes nine months after the new owners, Caffeine and Machine, based in Warwickshire, saw their plans to turn the venue into a motoring haven, complete with a car display area and coffee shop, rejected by councillors.

This was to follow off the back of the owners’ successful launch of such a venue in Stratford-upon-Avon and would have included 150 parking spots in total.

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The owners are also seeking to renovate the entrance to the pub itself, create a new separate exit road, relocate the children’s play area and add a new outdoor seating area.

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Carsington and Hopton Parish Council has “strongly” objected to the plans, claiming it is “unsustainable” and not in line with efforts to curb climate change.

It wrote: “It is felt locally that whilst this application makes no mention of running the venue in the same vein as the sister site in Warwickshire, that the number of proposed car parking spaces and hardscaping required is more consistent with that for a motor vehicle related ‘theme pub’ for enthusiasts, rather than it continuing to be run as it is now, offering camping and caravanning and as a community pub.

“As such it has been stressed to the parish council that ultimately it is felt that the applicants are seeking to achieve the same outcome as requested in the refused application, albeit incrementally.”

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It also argues that the historic and current use of the venue for camping, and its use of an area for overflow car parking, are both disputed and may not be lawful.

The Peak District National Park Authority says it objected to the previous motor haven and coffee shop plans and would also be objecting to this smaller scheme.

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It wrote: “The development would have a negative impact on the tranquillity of the Peak District National Park. ‘Tranquillity’ is one of the Peak District’s special qualities. Large numbers of vehicles will be attracted to the site.

“We are particularly concerned that it will lead to leisure driving in performance cars onto the Peak District’s quiet lanes, because of the ‘challenge’ such roads present. Such roads are already busy with a mix of users, including cyclists and pedestrians.”

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Derbyshire Dales Ramblers and the Peak and Northern Footpath Society also object to the plans, due to the presence of a public footpath on the site, fearing the loss of its use and enjoyment of the area.

Derbyshire County Council highways officials say they did not object to the motoring haven and coffee shop plans and would also not object to this smaller scheme.

Cllr Lucy Peacock wrote a letter to say residents have shown support for the new entrance to improve visibility, but object to the increase in parking spaces, suggesting this will cause traffic to increase too, placing pedestrians walking to the site at a higher risk.

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A total of 117 people have submitted objection letters to the council, along with opposing comments from seven parish councils, CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) Derbyshireand the Derbyshire Dales Climate Hub.

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These relate to highway safety concerns for motorists and pedestrians, the disputed need for the extra spaces, enjoyment of the countryside, the impact on the environment and wider Peak District and the potential for anti-social behaviour such as “racing” on surrounding roads.

Council officers, recommending approval, wrote: “The application site is located approximately 3.2km (2 miles) from the boundary of the national park (measured in a straight line to the nearest point).

“It is therefore unlikely that the development would lead to any direct impact upon the national park. The concerns in regard to traffic travelling to or from the application site are understood.

“However, as set out the site has a lawful use as a public house and this application does not propose any change of use.

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“There is no control over the type of vehicles in which members of the public will visit the public house.

“The local planning authority cannot control which route visitors would approach or leave the site or assume that visitors to the site would engage in antisocial behaviour or that vehicles would be driven in the local area or national park in a loud and unsafe manner.”