Investment News | 19 August 2020

UK's first national park gateway

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Milligan has announced it is forming a joint venture to develop the UK’s first fully-serviced national park gateway as part of the 300-acre PEAK Resort development.

The Peak District is the UK’s original national park, covering 555 square miles and attracting over 13 million tourism visits each year. More than 25 million people live within 50 miles of its boundaries and currently 61% of visits are from the ‘east side’ of the park.

The Peak District National Park Authority and Chesterfield Borough Council have recognised both the challenges and the opportunities generated by sustainable tourism and have partnered with PEAK Resort landowner Birchall Properties and Milligan to explore and refine the development. The University of Derby, one of the UK’s leading hospitality and tourism institutions, will also be a central part of the team, bringing leading thinkers and applied learning students.

Melanie Taylor, head of retail and relations at Milligan, said: “Our vision is to create a sustainable hub for like-minded businesses and a basecamp for the exploration of the Peak District. This will be a world-class example of a sustainable tourism project.

“A gateway could provide information for visitors to book single or multi-day itineraries, explore the area using more sustainable, less polluting modes of transport and buy or hire outdoor activity equipment to try out new activities. The information available about the wider Park’s attractions will help spread the economic benefit of millions of visitors beyond the area’s traditional ‘honey spots’.”

Sarah Fowler, chief executive of the Peak District National Park added: “As we approach our 70th year as the UK’s first national park, supporting sustainable gateways and opportunities for visitors to experience what we have to offer in a responsible way is vital to our future.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the role that national parks and our outdoor spaces can play in our recovery and long-term wellbeing. The Peak District’s unique position in the heart of the country already makes us accessible to millions and our involvement in the Gateway at PEAK will help unlock our wildlife, cultural heritage and natural beauty to others, befitting a pioneering approach to sustainable tourism.”

Over the next two months, the partnership led by Milligan will be undertaking a major marketing and research phase discussing the opportunity with companies both large and small, local and national that might be interested in participating. They will be looking to create partnerships with brands that align with the Gateway’s values and vision, to integrate products, experiences and expertise into the delivery of a world-class visitor experience.

Once this phase is completed in September, a detailed building specification will be finalised, and it is intended that construction will start in 2021.


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