1. Planning Inquiry.
No further communications from the Inspectorate, so as things stand the Inquiry is still scheduled for the end of January 2021.
2. Crich Parish Council.
WACAG and several local residents contacted the PC to ask if they were planning to attend the Inquiry to support AVBC in refusing permission for the change in use of the site. After all, the parishioners in Whatstandwell are those who will be most immediately impacted by the conversion of the former wooded caravan site into a prominent 60 unit housing estate on the opposite bank of the river, spoiling the World Heritage Site. The PC’s response was somewhat disappointing as they replied “Crich Parish Council does not think it is necessary for us to be represented at the inquiry.” However, the council did send a short note to AVBC supporting its position.
3. Communications with government ministers and UNESCO.
WACAG has written to ministers reminding them of the government’s obligations to protect world heritage sites under its guardianship. If the Planning Inspector finds in favour of the owners of Haytop Park it will allow for the destruction of many more trees and habitat in the WHS buffer zone, an area that HMG is legally obliged to protect and care for.
The letters were copied to our local MP and she suggested a meeting with WACAG, which took place on 29 October. Ms Dines was presented with our views on the redevelopment of the park and its undoubted negative impact on the WHS and Alderwasley conservation area if it proceeds. She viewed the park from Shaws Hill, which allowed her to see first-hand the impact of the activities to date. We hope she can now appreciate how the visual amenity of the valley will be affected if a much larger swath of the trees is removed to accommodate 60 twin-unit lodges.
Ms Dines undertook to write to ministers Robert Jenrick (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Oliver Dowden (Culture) and UNESCO. She also said she will ask questions in parliament that should get a written response. Further to her request for more details on some aspects of the situation we will compile a short dossier for Ms Dines, whose level of engagement was encouraging. While she said, and we understand, that she couldn’t get involved with local planning issues she was interested in the consequences for the DVMWHS as well as the attitude and actions of the site owners since they acquired Haytop.
WACAG has also written to UNESCO, who are responsible for identifying and listing heritage sites, to inform them that the Derwent Valley WHS is in danger of creeping encroachment by housing developments because minister Jenrick seems inclined to overrule local planning authorities and approve developers’ plans which have been rejected locally.
4. Recent reviews for Country Wide Park Homes (owners of Haytop Park).
Some interesting reviews and comments about CWPH and its owners on several websites have been brought to our attention. Here is a sample:
The Trustpilot consumer website (https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/countrywideparkhomes.co.uk) has 28 reviews for CWPH in the past 12 months – all bad – and only one good review, from five years ago. The overall score is 1.7 out of 5. Some quotes from reviewers include:
“BUYER BEWARE! If you are thinking of buying a holiday home DO NOT DEAL WITH COUNTRYWIDE PARK HOMES.”
“Avoid this company at all costs!! Do not invest in this company it is absolutely disgusting!!”
“Unfortunately the way they treat their resident owners comes up far short of most park owners. My advise is to stay clear of this park owner for your own sake.”
“This company took over the Dreamlodge group when it went into administration. It has been a disaster even since.”
“However seductive the brochures may look, and however luxurious the lodges may appear none of it makes up for the daily misery that hundreds of owners on these sites put up with.”
Trust Mamma reviews (https://www.mamma.com/uk/countrywideparkhomes-co-uk) has one good review from 2015 and 6 bad ones in the past year, giving it a score of 2 out of 5.
Facebook reviews of the company result in a score of 1.6 out of 5.
Two posts on Glassdoor (https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Reviews/Countrywide-Park-Homes-Reviews-E2263710.htm) from former employees are also somewhat uncomplimentary.
All this would seem to reinforce the impressions formed locally when CWPH gave former caravan owners only a few days to remove their property in 2017, together with their behaviour since. If nothing else, it should perhaps lead our local councils to ask themselves if having a company with such a reputation on our doorsteps is potentially beneficial for the area? If the answer is “no” then they should make their opinions known to the Planning Inspector at the public inquiry.