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Peak Gateway appoints Stirling Prize winning architects Stanton Williams for regenerative mixed-use destination and basecamp to the UK’s original National Park.

Birds eye view of PEAK development
August 1, 2023
  • The Gateway is phase one of a £300m capital investment into the UK’s post-Brexit visitor economy. Gateway will be built on a low carbon infrastructure, with the ambition of generating its own energy and processing its own waste with a zero-carbon transport service connecting visitors to attractions in the Peak District National Park, without the need for their car.
  • Stanton Williams have been appointed as lead architects by Peak Gateway Properties and are being supported by a team comprising: landscape architects Gillespies, multi-disciplinary engineering consultants Cundall, Inspire Design and Development focusing on drainage and transport, and Turner & Townsend.
  • The Gateway will comprise the travel hub, a 165 room resort hotel, a variety of F&B outlets and extensive experiential retail spaces facilitating all types of outdoor pursuits and wellbeing.
  • Outline and reserved matters approvals have already been granted for previous iterations of the Gateway and will now be developed to incorporate modern best practice and operator requirements. Section 73 and Reserved Matters Applications relating to the consented planning approvals will be submitted to Chesterfield Borough Council this Autumn.
  • The Gateway at PEAK is due to open in Winter 2026.

International, award-winning architects, Stanton Williams have been appointed to design The Gateway, consented on 300 acres of reclaimed land located on the eastern boundary of the Peak District National Park, near Chesterfield in Derbyshire.

The Gateway is intended to play an important role in cementing Chesterfield as a destination town as part of the Peak District experience and providing visitors and the local community with low impact ways to explore the National Park thanks to a zero-carbon travel hub.

Alongside Stanton Williams, a multi-skilled project team has been assembled, led by Milligan, a specialist destination and mixed-use real estate developer, who are working closely with regional strategic partners, including Chesterfield Borough Council, The University of Derby and the Peak District National Park Authority.

Peak Gateway Properties has briefed the team to define and design the Gateway build and operations around the principles of a ‘regenerative enterprise’, promoting the restoration and regeneration of natural resources and social systems.

The founders of Birchall Properties, the landowner, have already invested over 35 years in nature recovery and passive rewilding on the 300-acre Birchall Estate which had been the subject of extensive open-cast activities. By way of the Environment Act 2021 any development on the property must achieve a biodiversity Net Gain of at least 10% on its pre-development status.

The Gateway at PEAK will be an international standard tourist destination providing a basecamp and a gateway into the 550 square mile Peak District National Park. Like a ski resort the PEAK Resort will be built around a carless mobility service, not in this case to mountains and skiing, but into the Peaks for biking and hiking, for nature, heritage, sport and culture. The commercial village will comprise of experiential retail, locally sourced dining and unique spaces for events, artisan craft and learning experiences.

John Milligan, CEO of Peak Gateway Properties and Chairman of Milligan said:

“It used to be that an iconic building was one that stood out from its surroundings. The Gateway will be iconic, but we’re setting a new standard for what that means. Here buildings will integrate with their surroundings and work to enhance biodiversity beyond what will be mandated.

“We want to attract a discerning visitor, who cares about the protection of the UK’s original National Park and wants to enjoy the wellbeing benefits that nature and being in the outdoors, for either leisure or sport, can provide. A wide range of experiential retail brands with a unique proposition centred on nature and the outdoors will help create the destination.

“The travel hub is central to the Gateway’s proposition, allowing visitors to transition into electric or hydrogen vehicles for onward exploration of the Park, its stunning landscapes and thousands of activities and attractions. This is a way to expand access to the park and support more destinations in a low impact way. Currently 85% of visitors travel into the Park by car which is not sustainable. Last year we ran the first trial for the travel hub alongside Toyota and other local partners. The technology operated on a 40% regenerative energy basis which is fantastic. The trial stakeholders and users endorsed the urgent requirement for this sort of service – when it’s up and running we hope it will be an exemplar for other hubs around the Park and for other National Parks in the UK to follow.”

Gavin Henderson, Principal Director at Stanton Williams, said:

“We are delighted to be working with PEAK Gateway Properties to realise their ambitious vision for this exceptional site. The Gateway will be a unique destination designed as a cohesive group of buildings integrated into the landscape. The scheme embraces the principles of the circular economy and uses highly sustainable, durable materials including local stone and timber. As well as regenerating a former open-cast mine, it supports natural ecosystems through habitat protection and enhancement, while connecting people with nature and encouraging active and low-carbon travel to and within the Peak District.”

Rupert Carr, a founder shareholder in Birchall Properties, the landowner, and a director of PEAK Gateway Properties said:

“The planning consents for PEAK Gateway Resort were implemented and safeguarded in 2016.  We are very pleased to be moving forward again after surviving the challenges of Brexit and COVID.

“The realisation of Gateway fulfils our long-held ambition to showcase regenerative enterprise through land reclamation, a low carbon build and significant local employment creation."

“It is particularly pleasing to be a first mover in respect of offering tourists a zero carbon, carless mobility service to the attractions and landscapes of the UK’s first national park and to the medieval market town of Chesterfield.”

The Gateway’s zero carbon mobility service and its related infrastructure are critical to the delivery of this £300m investment programme into the visitor economy. The intention is to emulate the success of an international ski resort by providing hospitality and mobility from the outside of a national park. The Gateway, phase one of the PEAK Gateway Resort, represents a £150m capital investment and over 1,000 jobs, secured through a ‘green economy’ skills academy.

Section 73 and Reserved Matters Applications relating to the consented planning approvals will be submitted to Chesterfield Borough Council early Autumn.