Plans have been lodged to build a huge new car park with more than 1,000 spaces at a popular national park just outside Greater Manchester. A planning application has been submitted by Land Studio Ltd, working with the National Trust, to relocate the car park at Lyme Park and to improve access and facilities for visitors.
The current car park is situated close to the hall and connected gardens which is accessible after a mile-long drive from the entrance off the A6. It currently holds 400 spaces available all year round, plus an overspill, with the relocation plans looking to increase this capacity to 1,065.
The new car park would be situated to the west away from the hall in an area known as ‘The Knott’ which is the park’s former Dressage area. The area is currently a mixture of grassland and moorland.
A planning statement says a new car park is needed to accommodate the ‘enormous pressure’ of more than 330,000 visitors that come to the park each year, which continues to grow. The developers also believe that the current car park’s location ‘detracts’ the history of the hall and creates a lack of ‘cohesion within the landscape’.
They add that the changes would give ‘a fresh look at how the future requirements for the estate can be met’. As well as the new car park, the development would look to create a new hall and garden entrance, reinstate the current car park as parkland, a drop-off and parking area for coaches, and improved planting that ‘visually connects existing parkland clumps to further screen views, particularly from the south’.
New paths and improvements to current ones from the location of the new car park to the hall and gardens are proposed with these plans.
Six letters of objection have already been submitted. One says: “It represents a massive expansion of new tarmac in the park grounds, paving over a currently quiet area around the Knott, ruining the tranquillity currently enjoyed by visitors. It will encourage yet more visits to the park by motor car rather than more sustainable transport options.” The lack of new cycling infrastructure with this was also raised.
Social media page Peaks & Puddles has also voiced dismay at the plans. They said: “The plans restore green space to the current car park beside the hall, but spread human impact much further into the park. The entire beautiful space up at “The Knott” would become a huge permanent car park. That lovely group of trees? Suffocated by tarmac and gravel parking.
“Rather than reducing impact of cars, all visitors would be forced to drive nearly 2 miles into the park, past the hall, up to this huge new parking landscape — which would also turn a safe, well-used cycle route into the park into a hazardous, noisy, ugly place.”
Planning documents state that a reason for moving the car park is due to the current ones position next to the hall, which is detrimental to the surrounding view and is ‘out of harmony’ with the hall. Peaks & Puddle acknowledge this, but say: “Although the current car park impacts the immediate area below the house, it’s at least well shielded from the rest of the parkland. These plans would see a very visible area blighted by cars, tarmac and gravel. Something needs to be done about access to Lyme, but this isn’t it.”