We have learned that the Haytop Park owners (HCPL) are seeking to have a lawful right to enlarge the area used for caravans to the extent that it could be double that used in the past, if not more. This will be part of the case they present at the Planning Inquiry and they will argue that they have sufficient evidence to support it.
It is fairly obvious that there is not enough space to accommodate 60 twin lodges on the area formerly used under the old management. At the moment there are only 27 concrete standings so many more trees would have to be felled to allow for positioning of the remaining lodges. Note that if HCPL’s appeal against the enforcement notices is successful the Tree Protection Order will no longer apply. It is also possible that HCPL would seek to increase the number of lodges beyond 60 in the future.
One of the criteria for the designation of the valley as a World Heritage Site was to protect the “rural landscape” and it is the duty of HMG to safeguard that by restricting developments which would have a negative impact. The World Heritage Committee might well take a view that further damage to the landscape could affect the Outstanding Universal Value of the area to an extent that would require a review of the WH status. Lest anyone doubt that, please refer to the case in the Dresden – Elbe valley in Germany. There, and against much opposition, the authorities built a bridge across the river in the valley in 2007. Because of that in 2009 the Committee removed WH status from the valley and it was de-listed. Do we want to risk a repeat of that in the Derwent Valley?
The situation at Haytop Park is no longer one of just a local planning dispute but has national and international implications because damage to the valley landscape would be against UNESCO’s guidelines and the British Government’s commitments to the World Heritage Convention. It is for these reasons that we suggest that those who feel strongly about this matter should bring it to the attention of the Culture Minister by writing to your MP at Westminster. We would also ask you to spread the word about this possible threat to the WHS and encourage others to also write to their MPs in a similar fashion.