Tag Archives: Roaches

AONB Petition by Churnet Valley Conservation Society

WAG welcomes the following request from Karen Seaton of the Churnet Valley Conservation Society, seeking your support for a petition aimed at achieving        Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty status for the Churnet Valley.

 Karen Seaton CVCS Spokesperson says:

 “We are not so sure that people are aware that the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council Core Strategy was recently rejected by the Government Inspector, who found more than 70% of the points within it to be unsound. We feel that there is a very serious risk that, with the council floundering to complete their strategy documents, time may slip away and we will miss this important opportunity to protect and recognize the valley. We are asking people to contact Staffordshire Moorlands District Council and support us in two requests we have made to them:    

1. During the next public consultation phase for the Churnet Valley Master Plan include a simple question: Would you be in support of designating the area as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty?

2. Should it be apparent that the electorate of the area do wish to obtain this important designation for their area, that the District Council fully embraces the potential and opportunities AONB designation offers.

We are undertaking a four week long petition and contacting a range of people and organizations across the county asking that they support our call, and we are asking as many people as possible to contact their County, District, Town and Parish Councillors and ask them to pressurise Staffordshire Moorland District Council into action. “

 The Churnet Valley Conservation Society would be happy to discuss this further and I would be pleased if you could support or campaign for the designation of the Valley as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The petition is available across the area in shops, libraries, pubs etc. An on-line petition may also be found at https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/staffordshire-moorlands-district-council-support-area-of-outstanding-natural-beauty-status-for-the-churnet-valley

Or follow the link from https://www.churnet-valley-conservation.org/

Planning Inspector invites Objectors to rewrite Council’s Strategy for Churnet Valley.

The independent Government Inspector, Mr Patrick Whitehead, has at long last provided residents with the first genuine opportunity to have their say on the future of the Churnet Valley.

During a three day hearing this week at Moorlands House, Leek, the Inspector scrutinised the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council’s Draft Core Strategy Document to see if it is fit for purpose. The inspection was rigorous and follows an avalanche of public criticism of the Council’s plans during the consultation phase, when thousands of comments were made by local residents, the main issues being the so called “tourism corridor” and housing development allocations.

The scale of public interest was so great that the packed public hearing had to be moved to a larger room at one stage.  The Inspector heard evidence from Whiston Action Group representatives challenging excessive and unsustainable proposals for tourism development at Moneystone Quarry and other locations.   The hearing heard about the inadequacies of the road infrastructure to cope with existing tourism problems stretching from The Roaches in the north down to Alton in the south. The scale of development proposed by the Council was considered ill thought out, inappropriate and unsustainable.   Witnesses argued that better tourism, involving encouragement for small locally based businesses is required, not large scale tourism developments by outside commercial interests.    The Peak District National Park is already suffering from an excess of unsustainable tourist numbers and wishes to off load that excess to the Moorlands, despite the serious risk that the Churnet Valley will fall victim to the same problem.  Calls for the Council’s proposals to be scaled back considerably to a level that the area and residents can cope with were listened to with evident sympathy by the inspector who has taken the significant step of inviting objectors (mostly represented by WAG) to re-draft the key Churnet Valley Tourism section of the Council plan (Policy SS7), discuss their ideas with the District Council to achieve agreement if possible and then for him to review progress with a revised policy in two weeks.


WAG welcomes that recognition of its concerns and those of other objectors and is currently in the process of coordinating views to arrive at a revised draft policy for discussion with the District Council before responding to the Inspector’s invitation.

Over the next few weeks, the Inspector has said that he will be reviewing his proposed modifications to the Core Strategy before deciding whether the changes that he would wish to see can be incorporated satisfactorily or whether they are of such significance that he must return the Council’s Core Strategy for complete revision.


Nick Cresswell, WAG Communication Officer, said:-
After two years of frustration with a District Council that does not listen to local residents, WAG is pleased to see the intervention of an independent public enquiry and looks forward to the day when an eventual plan will be produced for the future of the Churnet Valley that genuinely reflects the needs of residents.”

Tittersworth Reservoir – Double Yellow Lines at Last


WAG’s publication of video recordings of longstanding traffic congestion problems at tourist “hot spots” along the Churnet Valley seems to have had some effect. On a recent visit to Tittersworth Reservoir the usual chaos of parked vehicles along the narrow country lane through to Meerbrook was seen to have been replaced by a new traffic free set of double yellow lines. Could it be that WAG’s video evidence gathering exercise was the catalyst that encouraged decision makers to sit up and take note of the existing traffic congestion issues associated with tourism in the Churnet Valley?
Perhaps they will now do something at the other end of the valley to address the more significant traffic issues associated with Alton Towers, where decades drift by with no effective action being taken.  Who wants more tourism when we can’t even deal with the problems we already have?


Traffic Chaos at Tourist Hot Spots

In an effort to raise awareness amongst decision making district councillors about existing traffic chaos at “honey pot”  tourist locations in the Staffordshire Moorlands  WAG is gathering evidence for their consideration.    The first video showing irrefutable evidence of the problems at Rudyard Lake, Tittersworth Reservoir and The Roaches can be viewed via the link in the following letter sent to district councillors on 30 Aug 2012.

Dear Councillor,                                                 

As the Churnet Valley Masterplan proposals move towards preparation of a draft plan, you have an unenviable task as an elected representative in considering what type and scale of tourism is appropriate for the Churnet Valley. You perhaps have difficulty in assessing the array of often conflicting information and arguments that are placed before you. Detailed knowledge of issues within the ward that you represent is one thing, but achieving a full understanding of situations in every ward across the whole of the Staffordshire Moorlands area is perhaps a little daunting. Yet how can you meaningfully contribute to the debate without that wider knowledge?
Just to take one issue, that of tourist related traffic problems. Almost everyone is aware of the inadequacies of the road infrastructure across the district council area, and you may well have read or heard of the congestion problems experienced around the “honey pot” tourism sites. But have you actually witnessed these traffic problems to assess for yourself the nature and scale of what concerns so many people living close to them? I recognise that it is totally unreasonable to expect you to explore the whole of the Staffordshire Moorlands gathering first hand information on these problems. I would also question whether the office hours planning staff writing the draft report have first hand knowledge either, as they made no mention of such ongoing problems in the Options Report.
In response to that void of reliable facts Whiston Action Group (WAG) is willing to assist. One of the fundamental principles that WAG works to is ensuring that any judgements it makes are based upon facts and not anecdotal stories from often dubious sources that cannot be relied upon. WAG gathers evidence and is willing to share it with anyone having the interests of the Churnet Valley at heart. You may have doubts about the reality of traffic congestion problems and may have received assurances that such stories are unfounded and exaggerated. If that is the case I invite you to click on the link below to view our first video showing traffic issues at Rudyard Lake, Tittersworth Reservoir and The Roaches. You will see irrefutable evidence of existing tourism overwhelming the parking facilities and road infrastructure. Solutions to these here and now problems need your attention rather than encouraging yet more visitors to the area.
I trust you will find the video informative and assure you that WAG has the resources and commitment to assist in gathering the important factual evidence that currently you may be being denied. Our web site at www.whiston-action-group.co.uk is always worth a visit and our communications officer, Nick Cresswell, can be contacted on 07850 336587.
Yours sincerely,
Harry Blood
Chairman of Whiston Action Group.