Right now, the Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) is deciding the future of the North Lees Estate, which contains a large proportion of Stanage Edge and the surrounding moorland. The PDNPA is short of money and wants to generate more income from North Lees. We are concerned that could become its priority, over and above conservation and freedom of access.
Stanage was all but given to the PDNPA in the early 1970s by General Sir Hugh Beech on the understanding the estate would always be somewhere everyone could enjoy quiet recreation. We fear such freedoms could be threatened if the PDNPA tries to develop the estate's commercial potential – an estate acquired with public money for public benefit.
There has been no recent public consultation on the future of this public land, yet the PDNPA seems set to make far reaching decisions without having set out a sustainable vision for this iconic landscape. The nearby Eastern Moors Partnership is an excellent template for involving the public and setting out a plan for the future. The PDNPA is missing the opportunity to use it.
So the BMC is offering its own charter for Stanage; a charter for the future management of Stanage – whoever owns it. We are asking you to sign up to it so we can make the voices of all who care about Stanage heard by National Park Authority.
The nine points of the Stanage Charter are:
- This publicly-owned estate must be retained forever for everyone. It should never be fragmented.
- North Lees Estate is on Open Access Land. Any commercial enterprise must not impede the spirit of access for all.
- Key stakeholders – recreational users and the local community – must be consulted before decisions are made. There must be transparency in decision-making.
- Caring for conservation, wildlife and landscape is paramount. There need be no conflict between this, adventure activity and quiet enjoyment.
- People value Stanage as a wild area kept free from intrusive developments. This must be safeguarded.
- The cultural and archaeological heritage of Stanage must be preserved.
- Any revenue raised from the estate should be reinvested in the landscape.
- Shooting rights should not be exercised.
- The local economy relies on preservation of these values and open access.