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Peak District chiefs won’t be ‘held to ransom’ by Chatsworth over parking row

todayOctober 13, 2022 14

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Peak District chiefs refused to be ‘held to ransom’ by Chatsworth House after the tourist attraction threatened to pull the plug on a major landscaping project if it wasn’t allowed more car parking.

Peak District National Park Authority members reacted with anger when Chatsworth Trust Chief Executive Ted Cadogan told them existing plans for a car park expansion and Baslow access road would be scrapped if they didn’t increase the number of days cars could park in front of Grade I listed building.

The area of land between the bastion wall and riverside can currently be used for parking 365 days of the year, however when the authority granted permission for the landscaping plans back in 2020, it was with the condition that use of this area be reduced 11 days a year during the three busiest periods – Chatsworth Country Fair, the horse trials and the RHS Flower Show.

In a meeting of the authority’s planning committee, Mr Cadogan stated: “This condition would make our visitor business operations unviable.  

“If this condition remains in place we would not implement this project and all the benefits of the project will be lost.”

Plans include the creation of a new northern gateway accessed from the A619/A621 roundabout to the east of Baslow, as well as the reconfiguration and expansion of the main car park from 675 to 896 spaces.

Mr Cadogun outlined some of the benefits of the scheme to include improving the ‘heritage setting’ of the listed buildings, protection of trees, better disabled access and electric car charging.

He admitted allowing cars to park directly in front of the house did ‘affect the setting’ and was something Chatsworth wanted to ‘move away from’.

“Unfortunately that area below the bastion wall is some of the best draining ground that we have because it slopes away towards the river and we can park cars there,” Mr Cadogun said.

Councillor Andrew McCloy said the committee needed to balance out the harm the car parking caused both the setting of the historic building and the fabric of the landscape, which were the driving factors behind the planning condition in the first place.

“I’m not going to be held to ransom by Chatsworth saying ‘well if you don’t go along with this, then it all falls’, because I think it was a balanced principle decision, which still stands,” he stated.

Meanwhile, vice chairman Councillor Ken Smith accused the trust of taking the ‘easy option’, rather than producing a transport management plan to encourage more visitors to use sustainable travel methods.

Councillor Kath Potter slammed the attraction for not doing enough to address traffic problems in Rowsley, where she is chairman of the parish council.

She described the traffic as ‘mayhem’ on days when Chatsworth was hosting an event and declared that the people of Rowsley deserved better.

Members voted against the application.

Despite being approached for a comment by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Chatsworth House has not confirmed whether it intends to abandon the landscaping plans in light of the decision.

Written by: NDR NEWS

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