Judge rejects High Court bid to stop £18m leisure park development

CAMPAIGNERS have failed with a High Court bid to stop an £18 million leisure park development going ahead at Moneystone Quarry, near Oakamoor.

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council granted Laver Leisure outline planning permission for their project at the disused sand quarry last year.

The High Court case was brought by Paul Housiaux, of Whiston, on behalf of local campaigners critical of the effect the development would have on the environment.

Whiston Action Group have claimed the influx of visitors to leisure park, which would have 250 holiday lodges and other amenities, including a water sports centre, would create major traffic problems on surrounding narrow country roads. Furthermore, the development would encroach on the picturesque Churnet Valley landscape.

In his submission Mr Housaix stated a previous planning application had been turned down in 2015. He argued there had been ‘inconsistency’ between this decision by the district council and a later move to approve the revised proposals.

However, Judge Mark Pelling threw out the legal claim and refused Mr Housiaux permission to appeal against his ruling. He also awarded the district council £5,000 costs.

The decision has been welcomed by council planning committee chairman Stephen Ellis.

He said: “I am pleased Judge Pelling has agreed with the council’s decision to grant consent for the Moneystone Quarry scheme and, particularly, that he made positive reference to the full and detailed report by officers.”

Laver Development purchased Moneystone Quarry from Sibelco after it abandoned plans for extending its operations on being refused permission in 2006 to extract a further 6.5 million tonnes silica sand. 

The quarry, which supplied high quality silica sand to the glass-making industry, closed in 2010 with the loss of around 70 jobs.

Laver have said the leisure park will create the equivalent of around 250 new full-time jobs.

Pictured: Moneystone Quarry before it closed in 2010