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Find answers to commonly asked questions about the PEAK development

1. The current position

1.1 Who is the company making the applications?

Peak Gateway Properties Ltd (PGP) is a single purpose company registered in the UK. PGP’s is a JV between Birchall Properties Ltd and Milligan.

1.2 Who is Birchall Properties (BPL)?

BPL is a single asset business and the freehold owner of the 300 acre Birchall Estate (see Estate Boundary Plan xxxx website). One of the founder shareholders of Birchall Properties acquired an interest in Birchall in 1988 when it was bare post opencast and is still a part of the leadership today (see picture 1988 site acquisition)

1.3 Who is Milligan Ltd?

Milligan Ltd is a specialist real estate developer with expertise in creating mixed-use destinations in the UK and Europe.  Previous projects include Center Parcs, travel hubs managing non-aeronautical revenues at Manchester and London City Airports and strategic development for Ferrovial Vertiports. Milligan also redeveloped Maremagnum on the waterfront in Barcelona – a large mixed-use leisure and tourist destination and owned and ran Camden Market, London.

1.4 How has the project been funded to date?

BPL has secured its funds from private sources to date. In addition, a Sheffield City Region Infrastructure grant of £2.85m was awarded in 2015 to fund the access to the consented resort estate and the development of a new public rights of way network. In the event contracted employment outcomes are not achieved a significant element of the grant will be repayable. It is important to note that at the time ‘state aid’ could not exceed 10% of the total investment.

1.5 Does the PEAK Resort have existing planning permissions

Yes, see Section 7.

1.6 Is PEAK Resort part of the Adopted Local Plan
1.7 Which local authority is responsible for planning applications and approvals regarding PEAK Resort

Chesterfield Borough Council.

2. Proposed changes to the approved PEAK Resort

2.1 Are the proposals seeking to change the approved uses permitted at PEAK?


2.2 Are the proposals seeking to change the approved design of the permitted development


2.3 Will the change of design result in bigger buildings


2.4 Will the change of design result in buildings outside of the Permitted Development Area


3. Previous PEAK Phase One proposals

3.1 Why is it taking so long to deliver PEAK Resort?

Since the Reserved Matters planning was secured, there have been significant changes in the macro financial markets such as banking crisis of 2008, Brexit in 2016 and COVID in 2020. Each time these challenges have caused significant disruption and delay and it takes at least 18 months for the programme to get going again and adjust to the new circumstances. It normally requires further planning applications and further investment.

3.2 What happened to David Lloyd and the Summit?

Works for the Summit started on site four days ahead of the first Pandemic lockdown.  The funder subsequently ceased trading.

3.3 What happened to Grand Heritage from the USA

Grand Heritage is a US based hotel and resorts business. Following the referendum decision to leave the European Community 2015 and the government’s failure to secure an exit agreement until 2021, GH withdrew in 2019.

4. The Land

4.1 What is the name of the property?

Birchall Estate (formerly Birchall Golf Course and Brierley Colliery)

4.2 How big is the property?

+/- 300 acres or 121.4 hectares

4.3 What is the property currently used for?

Preparation for PEAK development and nature recovery.  There are two forest schools currently operating on the estate.

4.4 Was the property strip mined?

Yes the property was extensively strip mined these activities ceased late 1980’s and a 30 year period of reclamation and regeneration began.

4.5 Was the property previously used for landfill?

Yes a 30 acre area to the north east of the estate was used for landfill of construction materials arising from the demolition of the Dama Glass Factory.

4.6 Is the development proposed in areas of the estate formerly opencast or part of the landfill?


4.7 What other historical uses has the land been subject to?

The Birchall Estate had been used for industrial and business activities since the middle ages. Timber and coal extraction, quarrying, a foundry, ammunition testing and packaging as well as opencast activities.

4.8 Was the property ever an 18-hole golf course?

Yes, this was closed in 2000’s as it was not economically viable and BPL wanted to pursue nature recovery activities on the estate in support of the PEAK Resort.  The golf course occupied approximated 180 acres and was heavily mowed throughout the growing and ecology seasons.

4.9 Who owns the Public Rights of Way (“PROW”) around the property?

The PROW form part of the Birchall Estate.

4.10 Who maintains the PROW?

The landowner should remove all obstructions but the Local Highway Authority is responsible for the surface of a PROW. To date BPL have maintained the surface to ensure public use.

5. The Environment and Nature of the Estate

5.1 What rewilding activities have been carried out since the strip mining and golf operation ceased?

Approximately 200 acres is subject to ongoing rewilding activities. The landowner has adopted a passive rewilding approach which allows native species to prosper around the existing seed bank.

5.2 What is the current position?

Surveys have been carried out on a regular basis including strategically placed wild life cameras. A resident specialist maintains an active engagement with the biodiversity on the estate and publishes reports for the board. For the purposes of the planning application independent consultants have been engaged and update reports will be provided as part of the planning submission.

5.3 What is the law in respect of environmental safeguarding when developing land?

The Environment Act 2021 requires developers to produce a Current Day Biodiversity Report as part of any planning application.  The law requires the development achieves a 10% biodiversity net gain. PEAK will be subject to achieving this.

5.4 What area of the estate will be built on and what area will be maintained for nature?

Approximately 30% of the estate will have a development footprint. These areas have been maintained for development. Sedum roofs and extensive native landscaping will increase biodiversity in these areas. 70% of the estate will be dedicated to nature and be made available for nature connectivity.

6. PEAK Resort Phase One (“PEAK”)

6.1 What is the core proposition of PEAK?

PEAK is a gateway resort, the proposition is to link people with activities and interests which are both within the resort estate and within the local area in particular the 550 square mile Peak District National Park.

6.2 What are the principle features of PEAK Phase One?

The hotel, the hostel, the skills academy, the PEAK Express, PEAK Horticulture and PEAK Outdoors. These will be supported by retail and food and beverage outlets. The development will be built on a smart campus infrastructure and powered by its own energy generation. The resort estate will include over 10 miles of cycling trails and be home to the national off road cycling school.

6.3 Will PEAK offer Park and Ride services to the National Park?

No Parking at PEAK is paid for and available to visitors of the resort’s facilities. It is estimated 10% of resort visitors will visit the national park via the PEAK Express, the resort’s carless access service. The PEAK Express operates like a ski lift, users buy a day pass to access trails and places of interest near to the resort estate. A park and ride is not desirable commercially as is it an economically viable.

6.4 Are there any similar developments in the world?

Yes, many ski resorts are located just outside of national parks and comprise, accommodation, hospitality, leisure, retail, food and beverage and carless access to the slopes and trails within the national park. PEAK is identical but provides access to a wider range of activity, nature, heritage and cultural experiences throughout the year.

6.5 Will PEAK be implemented in phases?

Yes, the current planning applications are for a revised phase one subsequent phases will include further overnight and short stay accommodation in hotel, lodge & hostel formats, a world class medical and wellness campus and conferencing facilities.

Phase One represents a third of the existing consented approval and will be constructed on 10% of the estate landholding.

6.6 How will Peak Gateway Resort be constructed?

PEAK will be constructed on a smart campus infrastructure. Materials used in construction of buildings will be subject to a carbon valuation. It is intended to publish the construction process and performance in trade and other journals and to be a global exemplar of a circular economy.

6.7 How will PEAK Resort be funded?

The phase one development will be funded by a mixture of private equity, debt and public subscription. Some grants may be applied in respect of green infrastructure.

7. The Current PEAK Planning Permission(s)

7.1 Has the principle of development been approved on the Birchall Estate.

Yes, the principle of the development is well established and forms part of the Adopted Local Plan.

7.2 Does PEAK currently have live planning permission or permissions?

Yes planning approvals are founded on the original outline permission which was approved by the then Secretary Of State.

Reserved Matters and Section 73 approvals related to the outline have been granted on a number of occasions and relate to a phased development.

The planning permission(s) were technically ‘implemented’ in 2015 and BPL received written confirmation the planning approvals have been safeguarded for the future.  

7.3 Are the current applications based on permissions already granted


7.4 Has an independent review of the planning permissions been carried out?

Chesterfield Borough Council sought the advice of the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman and received confirmation the planning permissions had been granted following due process and were extant (live).

7.5 What type of planning approval is now being sought?

The current applications relate to varying the approved phase one proposals by way of Section 73 Application to Vary and bringing forward additional elements of approvals by way of Reserved Matters Application(s).

7.6 What is the premise for changing the approved phase one?

To reduce the massing and height, to improve the embedded carbon of building materials and foundations, to facilitate a smart campus infrastructure and to create a solid foundation for the long term financial viability of the development.

8. Access to PEAK

8.1 Will the Unstone clubhouse access be available to visitors or suppliers of PEAK?

No, there is a condition in the 106 Agreement to prevent this, further conditions were added to the Reserved Matters in 2016.CHE/16/00317

8.2 Will the Roundabout access be the only access to PEAK for visitors and suppliers?


8.3 Will visitors be able to access PEAK by way of public transport?


8.4 Will there be a dedicated bicycle access and secure storage?


8.5 Will car parking be free if I want to use the PEAK Express to visit the national park?

No, all parking is paid for and you will also be required to purchase a day pass to use the PEAK Express service.

9. Employment at PEAK

9.1 How many jobs will there be in all phases?

In excess of 3,000.

9.2 How many jobs will there be in phase one?

In the region of 1,000.

9.3 Will the jobs be available to local people?

Yes, employment and skills training will be made available through the university partner and the local college.

9.4 What is SAGE?

SAGE is an in resort skills academy for the green economy. The skills academy will provide access to skills funding and will be linked to all the operations within the resort estate.

10. Construction Contracts and Construction Employment

10.1 Has a lead contractor been appointed?

No, not yet.

10.2 Will construction materials be delivered via the clubhouse access?


10.3 Will there be opportunities for local suppliers?

Yes, these will be processed through normal channels at the appropriate time.

11. Local enterprise engagement

11.1 Will local companies be able to bid for operational supply contracts?

Yes, contracts will be advertised locally and there will be a website for approaching the Gateway team directly.

11.2 Are there opportunities for local companies to be represented in the resort estate?

Yes, please fill in the relevant form on the website.

12. Timing and Programme

12.1 When will Ground Works commence?

April 2024 (subject to planning and contract).

12.2 When will Construction begin?

October 2024 (subject to contract).

12.3 When will Phase One Open to visitors?

Winter 2026.

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