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Army camp scheme given the boot again

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: January 08, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

One of the derelict building at the site.

One of the derelict building at the site.

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PROPOSALS to redevelop a former Army camp have been thrown out by a planning inspector.

In December 2012, Staffordshire Moorlands District Council refused planning permission for the 38-acre Anzio Army Camp site at Blackshaw Moor, on the Buxton Road near Leek.

It was to be redeveloped into an area which would provide extra care housing, a social centre, a holiday park and live/work units.

The new facilities at the derelict site, which has been unused since 2004, could have brought up to 100 new jobs to the area.

Following the refusal an appeal was made by the developer to the Government's planning inspectorate.

A hearing was held in November last year and the inspector has just announced his decision.

He said: "The principle impacts on this sensitive landscape are its appearance from Buxton Road, which includes the setting of the National Park and the views from within the Peak Park itself.

"There are extensive views across the area from vantage points on higher ground.

"In the context of the appeal site, the views from Thorncliffe Bank and Gun Hill, to its north-east and north-west respectively, both of which are within the Peak District National Park, are particularly important.

"Most of the existing buildings on the appeal site are heavily screened by trees so that their overall impact on the landscape is for the most part mitigated."

The inspector also stated that planning decisions should avoid the adverse impact of noise

Leek and District Shooting Centre, which has three external shooting ranges, is located a short distance from the appeal site.

The inspector said: "The majority of the proposed accommodation is to be used by elderly persons.

"They are likely to spend a considerable amount of their time on the site and in fine weather would no doubt wish to sit outside or walk around the site if physically able.

"Gunshot at the shooting range was demonstrated at my site visit. It is very noticeable and if experienced regularly is likely to be annoying to most people. It is therefore essential that adequate remediation to reduce the gunshot noise levels to an acceptable standard is agreed before any residential development commences on this site."

The inspector added: "I conclude that the proposal would be harmful to the character and appearance of the countryside, including the setting of and views from the Peak District National Park.

"The proposed layout would also result in unacceptable living conditions for the residents of the extra care housing as a result of noise nuisance from the nearby gun club. The material benefits of the scheme, when considered together, do not outweigh this harm."

A spokesman for the developer, Enhanced Developments Limited, said: "We are very disappointed by the inspector turning down the appeal against the refusal by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council to redevelop Anzio Camp with a mix of extra care housing, a holiday park, live/work units and a social building for use by the local community.

"We are committed to the redevelopment of this site, which has local support, and are encouraged by the inspector's confirmation that the uses proposed on the site are acceptable.

"We have had a productive discussion with the council on possible revisions to the layout of the project and we look forward to working further with them and the local community to bring forward a scheme that will deliver the exciting regeneration of this large disused site."

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