Work to transform a sprawling site into a £400million tourism development has begun.
Peak Resort in Unstone promises to create more than 1,300 full-time jobs when it opens – and become one of the UK’s flagship tourist attractions.
The ambitious project is being led by UK development company Birchall Properties Ltd and US firm Grand Heritage Hotel Group.
The developers and Chesterfield Borough Council this week confirmed that work to clear the ground for the project had started.
This process is expected to be completed in August before the next phase of the scheme gets underway in the autumn.
The development promises an all-weather, year-round leisure, health, sport and education resort on the 300-acre Birchall Estate, situated on the edge of the Peak District National Park.
George Cowcher, chief executive of the Derbyshire chamber of commerce, said: “It is fantastic news and will totally transform both the economy and the tourism offer of Chesterfield and the Peak District.
“The visitor economy, particularly in this part of the region, is a key driver of economic growth and this new project will further enhance the offering, draw more visitors to the area and make Chesterfield and the Peak District an even stronger proposition for potential investors,” he added.
Peter Swallow, chair of Destination Chesterfield, the town’s marketing campaign, added: “Residents, retailers and developers in the area have an excellent opportunity now to capitalise on Peak Resort ahead of its opening and make Chesterfield the best it can be to ensure a positive lasting impression for all visitors.”
In 2008, Birchall Properties Ltd obtained planning permission for the first phase of building for a major scheme at the site, which was reclaimed from opencast mining in the 1990s.
The plans for Peak Resort were exclusively revealed by the Derbyshire Times in January.
What will the Peak Resort offer?
• “Unique dome structures” providing water sports and adventure and other leisure facilities
• World-class golf facilities consisting of an 18-hole championship course, a practice course and a driving range
• A medical spa
• 250 woodland lodges and hobbit homes, 600 holiday apartments, a hotel and hostel units
• 300 acres of park and woodland incorporating walking and cycling trails