Giant water park and hotel plan revealed for Derbyshire

Designs for the waterpark.
Designs for the waterpark.

Ambitious plans for a giant waterpark, hundreds of apartments and straw bale lodges, a huge hotel and restaurant have been proposed for a former Derbyshire quarry.

The massive scheme, planned by Hillcrest (Crich) Limited, would see the current derelict 44-acre Crich quarry, northwest of Crich, entirely redeveloped as the Amber Rock Resort.

The site at Crich.

The site at Crich.

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This month the firm has applied to Amber Valley Borough Council for an environmental impact screening, ahead of formal planning applications.

If approved, the brownfield development would be built entirely in the quarry to obscure it from view. All of the car parking for the site, which would have more than 800 spaces, would be built below ground.

Access to the car parking would be through a tunnel.

A modern block of 210 holiday apartments would be built – inset into the quarry – over five levels, with suites ranging from one-bed through to four-bed.

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The apartment block would also include a supermarket, florist, photography studio, a bakery, a bowling alley, laundry services and craft classrooms.

There would also be a five-storey 116-bed hotel, with glass panelling on the front and a grassed roof so that it blends in to the top of the quarry.

The hotel would include 10 family suites and would cater for weddings and other functions.

In the grounds of the quarry would be 148 lodges built out of straw bales and repurposed timber frames.

Of these, 56 would be luxury lodges, complete with a sauna and games room.

Meanwhile, seven would be floating lodges, built close to the lakeside.

The developer says that “fire is not a problem” for the lodges, due to the straw bales being “bound so tightly, there is not enough oxygen to support combustion”.

A two-storey indoor water park would be the centrepiece of the scheme, with slides which stretch out over the quarry.

It would include a three-person raft ride, lazy river, outdoor pool, a climbing and bouldering area, a pool bar and numerous slides.

The water park would be built out of stone from the quarry, recycled timber, straw bales and glass.

Some of the quarry faces would be turned into climbing walls and there would be a zip-line from a viewing platform on the top of the quarry.

There are plans for a restaurant, diving platform and boats in the lake, fitness suite, sports hall with four badminton courts, a heritage centre, bike hire, creche, play area and mini golf.

Water-powered lifts would get visitors up and down the site’s buildings.

If approved, the development would take five years to build.

During construction, the project would create 200 jobs, and once operational the site would have 100 full-time and part-time jobs.

A report submitted with the application by Pennyroyal Design Group, on behalf of the applicants, says that the project aims to “create both a high quality and complete guest destination”.

It continues: “Whilst also acting as a catalyst for community regeneration by way of supply chain and job creation to create a wholly sustainable holiday village, sympathetically and sustainably designed.

“The proposal takes advantage of a striking location without significant visual impact, nestling as it does into the man-made amphitheatre created as a direct result of decades of limestone quarrying.

“The creation of an attractive leisure facility to complement and augment the local area’s numerous natural and man-made attractions will do much to convert existing ‘day-trippers’ into potential overnight ‘stop-overs’.

“The on-site facilities are for the use of resort residents by way of enhancing the visitors stay into an all encompassing holiday experience.”

Access to the development would stretch past Crich Tramway Museum and the Sherwood Foresters Memorial Tower.

The quarry has been disused since 2010.

The developers says that there is the potential for a regular bus service, subject to demand, for guests to Matlock and the town’s train station.

It is thought that formal planning applications will be submitted in two batches.

One would be to clear and prepare the quarry, the other would be for the construction of the huge development.