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Planners give go-ahead for new Moors for the Future centre

This is an archived press release

Tuesday 26 April 2005

26 April 2005

Planners give go-ahead for new Moors for the Future centre

A new £850,000 visitor and study centre for the Peak District's internationally important moorlands will take shape in Edale this summer.

The Peak District National Park Authority's planning committee has supported plans to demolish the existing 1960s-built Fieldhead visitor centre and replace it with a modern information and research centre, plus a community room available to villagers.

The innovative circular Moorlands Centre, built of local stone and glass with a natural-planted roof, will act as a base for the £4.7m Moors for the Future project, a five-year drive to restore one of Britain's rarest wildlife habitats - moorland and blanket bog, which is found in only four places in the world.

The facility is hoped to become a centre of excellence for moorland research, as well as providing information for visitors and ramblers who visit Edale, the gateway to the Pennine Way.

However, villagers voiced concern about increased traffic problems, and the planning committee insisted that traffic control measures must be in place before the centre can be brought into use. A Green Travel Plan will be prepared in consultation with residents to encourage more people to visit by public transport or bike, or at least not to drive their car through the village. This will be continually monitored and its effectiveness maintained.

Residents also had the opportunity to give their views through a local stakeholder group which has been meeting over the last 18 months, and the plans were exhibited in the village earlier this year. Work is due to start in July and finish by the end of December 2005, with the Fieldhead campsite remaining open while building work goes on.

Moors for the Future partnership chair Lynn Crowe said: "We want everyone to understand why this area - with its rare habitat, outstanding wildlife and cultural heritage - is so important. The aim of the new Moorlands Centre is to act as an information hub for local people, visitors, volunteers and researchers alike.

"It is also in the right place for the Moors for the Future team to continue restoring and caring for this wild but fragile environment."

Moors for the Future, currently based in Castleton, is a partnership of 12 environmental and landowning organisations mainly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It is halting the damage caused to the northern Peak District moorlands by fire, pollution and overgrazing, and is re-planting huge areas, with the aid of helicopter drops, open for all to enjoy.

Planning committee chair Narendra Bajaria said: "The committee welcomed the innovative and exciting design, developed after extensive consultation, which should prove an impressive facility for visitors in the area. In addition, the Green Travel Plan should help ensure that the new centre does not add to existing traffic problems."

This is an archived press release

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