AFTER years of consultation and at a cost of more than £70,000, the Churnet Valley Masterplan has finally been adopted by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council.
The plan will see development focused on the Cornhill area of Leek, the Bolton copper works in Froghall, Moneystone Quarry near Whiston, Alton Towers and Consall Hall Gardens, while several other areas would see smaller improvement schemes.
The masterplan will now go forward as a supplementary planning document for the whole valley, which runs from Tittesworth in the north to Alton in the south.
Speaking at a special district council assembly, leader of the authority Sybil Ralphs, said: "People in the Churnet Valley are passionate about the preservation of the valley.
"They want long-term development, and want to protect the area.
"The Churnet Valley masterplan is a reference document and there for guidance. Without it we would be very vulnerable to developers. This will help to preserve and protect the area.
"However the Churnet Valley does have regeneration needs.
"The consultation has raised issues of leafy lanes in the Moorlands which people want retained. It will be up to developers to show that proposals can be achieved without causing further traffic problems.
"The masterplan seeks to consider regeneration and to ensure the council has a comprehensive approach."
Councillor Linda Malyon said Moneystone Quarry near Whiston should be protected.
She said: "Any development must be done in the proper way.
"Concern has already been raised about the railway line stopping at Ipstones Station and not going to Cauldon."
Cheddleton district councillor, Mike Worthington, who is also the county councillor for the Churnet Valley said: "Lavers, which owns Moneystone Quarry, has been waiting for the masterplan to be adopted. We will now wait for a planning application.
"There is no room for any more vehicles on some of the roads.
"Money has been spent at Rocester and Uttoxeter to get traffic quicker to Alton Towers, but nothing has been done for Alton village."
Moneystone Quarry could see low impact holiday lodges built.
The development would enable outdoor recreation facilities.
A lake to include non-motorised water based activities would also be developed.
The Cornhill area, between the Barnfields Industrial Estate and the Britannia building in Cheadle Road, Leek, will see a mixed use of regeneration including employment, offices and light industrial, tourism accommodation and retail, leisure including the railway and canal, and residential. A planning application has already been submitted for land at Barnfields, off Sunnyhills Road.
The Bolton site would also be a mixed development with small industrial units for employment and the retention of the existing businesses.
Fifty high quality homes are also planned, along with the provision of the railway and a canal heritage centre and workshop.
Also planned is a visitor centre, a small hotel, a pub/restaurant and craft outlet. An outdoor activity centre and extended parking space to serve the railway would complete the development.
The masterplan also states that sensitive expansion of the Alton Towers Resort would include additional accommodation in the form of a lodge/campsite development to increase overnight stays.
Consall Hall Gardens could see a limited development of a small development of holiday lodges constructed within the gardens.