Chesterfield News


Peak Gateway appoints Stirling Prize winning architects Stanton Williams


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

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.

Gateway @PEAK location

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.

Birchall Properties supports the marketing and economic growth of the town through Chesterfield Champions, a network of over 200 organisations across Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

The Gateway @PEAK Bird's Eye View

Josh Marsh

Destination Chesterfield Coordinator (Investment and Marketing)

Email Josh
Artist impression of the GAteway at Peak in Chesterfield

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