Redevelopment of former Derbyshire theme park expanded into the protected Green Belt

The former American Adventure theme park site, in Shipley.The former American Adventure theme park site, in Shipley.
The former American Adventure theme park site, in Shipley.
The redevelopment of a former Derbyshire theme park, including emergency measures for a potential catastrophic dam collapse, will be expanded into the protected Green Belt.

Government planning inspector Elaine Moulton has approved the expansion plans from the developers behind the former American Adventure theme park site in Shipley despite mass opposition from residents.

Waystone Developments had sought to expand its scheme by half an acre into the Green Belt, and Shipley Country Park, requiring the movement of a public footpath.

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Last June this was rejected by Amber Valley Borough Council on the back of 390 objection letters submitted by residents.

May 1991, The American Adventure theme park, Mexicoland opened by Samuel MagdalenoMay 1991, The American Adventure theme park, Mexicoland opened by Samuel Magdaleno
May 1991, The American Adventure theme park, Mexicoland opened by Samuel Magdaleno

Ms Moulton has now approved that development following an appeal, which stems from a need for more land to make way for a 17 to 22-metre-wide valley to be created for a diverted watercourse, taking water from Osborne’s Pond and Coppice Lake into Shipley Lake – offsetting the impact of a potential dam collapse at Osborne’s Pond, which is now a classified reservoir.

Meanwhile, the next plot for development would be raised by four to five metres higher than previously agreed.

This would in turn require the site boundary for the overall development to be expanded by 16 metres to the north-west, into the protected Green Belt, taking up an extra 0.7 acres.

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Expanding in this area would require the realignment of the Nutbrook Trail, with a 155-metre section of the popular walking and cycling route having to be moved, including its closure for “around three weeks”.

Ms Moulton writes: “The council and interested parties have raised concerns that the works to widen the channel between Shipley Lake and the reservoirs are not justified.

“However, clear reasoning for such works to mitigate risks of flooding to residents, and associated danger to life, is set out.

“In the absence of compelling technical evidence to the contrary, I am satisfied that such works are essential to the safety of the public.

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“An incursion into the park is proposed that would result in the temporary closure and realignment of a section of Nutbrook Trail, that forms part of the Sustrans 67 cycleway. However, such works would be minor in extent and the required closure would be for a very short period. Consequently, the enjoyment of the users of the park and the trail/cycleway, and the heritage value of the park, would not be materially diminished. Furthermore, whilst Nutbrook Trail would be closer to a bridleway in its proposed position, there is nothing before me to suggest that this would be unsafe to the users of such routes.

“The appeal proposal would result in a reduction in the size of Plot D from that approved in the outline planning permission. Thus, it is reasonable to conclude that the amount of development would be reduced and would not lead to additional strain on public services.”

At last June’s planning meeting, where the scheme was rejected, Cllr Dean Watson, a member of Shipley Parish Council, had said the developer should find space within the 114-acre scheme for the wider watercourse valley instead of seeking to expand its site.

Alison Barnfield, agent for the developers, had said the changes did not involve a new access road or changed access road but were pitched as part of a collaboration with Derbyshire County Council to alleviate the impact of a potential dam breach at Osborne’s Pond.

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Without the scheme being approved on the American Adventure site, extensive works would be required at Osborne’s Pond, at great public expense, the agent claimed.

Plans on the former American Adventure site have already been approved for 307 homes, a retirement complex, shops, businesses, a pub, a hotel and a healthcare facility at the “Shipley Lakeside” site, with 48 homes already occupied and 302 homes started or due to be started – as of last June.

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