ELVASTON CASTLE COUNTRY/CITY Public Park and Gardens Latest

The Masterplan Version 7 was approved by Derbyshire County Council Cabinet on Thursday Sept 10th 2020. Report details can be viewed here https://democracy.derbyshire.gov.uk/documents/g561/Public%20reports%20pack%2010th-Sep-2020%2014.00%20Cabinet.pdf?T=10 Officers report on Elvaston Masterplan 7 is on page 263-279. Latest news also on Friends of Elvaston Castle Community Group, https://www.facebook.com/friendsofelvastoncastle

One of the main points in the Officers Report is that the public does not trust the Elvaston Castle and Gardens Trust (ECGT)and no-one supports the Masterplan V7

Today, Saturday 18th Sept 2021, we handed out 800 leaflets at Elvaston Castle Woodland Festival, (see below) showing the woodlands that will be destroyed, at Elvaston Castle, including Rookery Wood. A Countryside Services worker said ‘habitat would be protected’. You couldn’t make it up. This is impossible. The road and car park plans will destroy nature, biodiversity, trees, meadows and public open space, causing more air pollution & increasing carbon emissions, though induced car traffic into an area of the park that is free from it ie

the meadows near the castle (where the red arrowed route ends, on leaflet) Not ONE person we spoke to, supported the unsustainable plans. The Parliamentary Audit Committee on air pollution has reported that COVID19 mortality is closely linked to levels of air pollution. Thus, city dwellers are between 40-80% more likely to die from Covid, than rural, an observation that would go a long way to explain the higher mortality among members of the BAME community. The ECGT had a stall there too, we saw members of the public arguing with them and took away one of their large gold-embellished booklets, not printed on recycled paper. They don’t even name Rookery Wood, which will be destroyed to accommodate car-driving National Trust members, on a drive-through to the car parks. That will be a lovely drive, through the ruined woodland, trees, meadows and biodiversity

OCT 2020 We expect there to be planning applications submitted shortly for a road into the park, which will destroy greenways, public open space, trees, habitat, biodiversity and bring noise and air pollution straight into the middle of the park, which is relatively peaceful at the moment. The plans are for two 1000 space car parks on what is currently the picnic area and surrounding fields (one of them with horses previously) The following has been sent to Derbyshire County Council cabinet members, Mrs M Beckett MP, South Derbyshire Councillors and Derby City Council. More soon, please share….

Subject: Elvaston Castle Country Park and Gardens County Council Cabinet Meet 10 Sept 2020

Dear Councillors,

Firstly, apologies for another long read. We must also extend our gratitude for the current maintenance and upkeep of Elvaston Castle Country Park and Gardens. On a visit there, we saw the very best of what public parks offer, a showcase of the natural  world, and the more formalised. The Victorian walled gardens, especially at this time of year, are a credit to the hard work of gardeners and other workers. While there we saw an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair, clearly happy and many families with small children, who were running around the park. Please pass on our thanks to all workers, gardeners, rangers.

Trust in politics is at an all time low.  The very first section of the Officers report on Elvaston Castle Park and Gardens Masterplan acknowledges that the Derby and Derbyshire public do not support the Masterplan, at all.

The plans destroy public open space, trees, footpaths and greenways, replacing them with roads and 1000 space car parks. The noise and pollution will be excessive. On open/fair/festival days at Elvaston Castle, the fields next to the current car park are used instead for overflow parking, if needed. This keeps the cars, pollution and road/engine noise at the edge of the park, not in the middle of it. Public open space is at a premium in Derby City and many of the poorer more polluted wards, are lacking in Public Open Space standards. Although not within the city limits, Derby people utilise Elvaston Castle as their ‘countryside’. The new road will destroy footpaths, habitat, biodiversity and cause road accidents in an area where there are none. The A6 bypass caused the death of a young boy, within months of its opening

Hundreds of people use the A6 bypass footpath bridge to access the park daily, from Alvaston.

World Clean Air Day was on Monday. Derby is a Government designated ‘Clean Air Zone’ in which nitrogen dioxide pollution limits, are regularly exceeded. UK Air Quality Standards are not being met. The main cause is traffic. The UK All Party Parliamentary Group found that people living in polluted cities were up to 80% less likely to survive Covid19, than in rural areas. 64,000 premature deaths occur annually from air pollution. Yet the Masterplan would worsen air quality in a park that city dwellers go to, to escape the pollution in the city.  The UK APPG findings also go a long way towards explaining the higher mortality among members of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, as they mainly reside in polluted and deprived city areas.  1 in 8 deaths are linked to pollution https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-54071380

Air pollution levels in Alvaston are already high, because of the  A6, bypass and industrial development. Putting more traffic onto this road only worsens the situation for Alvaston residents, who will bear the brunt of pollution from the induced car traffic, lorries etc and see their chances decimated, of recovering from COVID19 if contracted.(UK APPG)

The UK Governments ‘Decarbonising Transport; setting the Challenge’  quotes the 5th Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) co-benefits of “positive action on reducing transport emissions include public health benefits through increased active travel and improved air quality;…and reduction in inequality where those who generate less noise and air pollution are disproportionality impacted by pollution.”

The MACE report found that the main bulk of people in the park are there for WALKING, to enjoy fresher air than where they live. They are not interested in buying items, unless its an ice-cream or food. UK Government National Planning Policy Framework (2019) states ‘ ‘sustainable transport priority FIRST to pedestrian and cycle movements’ and reiterates ’strong support for the public rights of way network’ in other words, the greenways and footpaths that are to be destroyed by such plans.

Pg 9 of the full Cabinet report states that “Climate action would play a key role in the Covid-19 recovery process providing short and long-term economic, environmental and health and wellbeing benefits” Yet the politically-neutral Institute for Government published a report on Monday 7 September warning that the Government was “well off-track” to meet its target of netzero carbon emissions by 2050…” lacking policies, with constant changes of direction, and failing to gain public consent” (Guardian 8 September)  

Climate, pollution and health issues are all linked   https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/environmentalaccounts/articles/ukairpollutionremovalhowmuchpollutiondoesvegetationremoveinyourarea/2018-07-30

Parkland and trees save the NHS MILLIONS in health benefit costs.

Thus trees and parkland help to REDUCE the growing demand on NHS services, and should be included in  the annual assessment of value for money, which the council undertakes.(pg1 of full cabinet report) 100 plus trees and parkland, which the Masterplan would destroy. Yet the UK Government is currently promoting an ‘England Tree Strategy’ in which claims are made that tree cover will be increased, not reduced.

Elvaston Castle Country Park is in floodplain. https://riverlevels.uk/flood-warning-river-derwent-at-elvaston-castle-country-park#.X1eCEXlKgrT

In November 2019, 200 workers at the nearby Rolls-Royce nuclear reactor on Raynesway had to be evacuated when the River Derwent burst its banks and caused flooding.  Parts of Derby city centre flooded

Derby floods 21 1 2021

Destroying floodplain/washland at Elvaston Castle means that the river will ‘back up’ to other areas, such as the reactor, especially as the climate emergency worsens rainfall levels. Public safety would be at increased risk. The climate emergency will increase the number of times that excessive rainfall/run-off from rivers/roads flowing into Derwentwater dams, needs to be released.

The proposed roads/car parks are there for one intention only. To induce people in cars, to shop, in a public park, for which shopping is not a main attribute, and which is unsustainable. It also means that people in cars will be walking LESS, as the car parks would be right next to ‘amenities’, making a mockery of ‘active travel’. The car parks are planned to be situated in the heart of the park purely to ‘funnel’ car passengers through the courtyard shops, to buy more. Pg268 ‘the biggest income stream is car parking followed by catering’  The proposals indicate ‘town-cramming’ development onto a public park. The opportunity to introduce more active travel is squandered by these plans. To Induce more car travel into Elvaston Castle Park and Gardens is not sustainable or in line with the Governments stated intention to encourage ‘Active Travel’ that is, travel not reliant on individual motor vehicles. As these plans induce more cars, air pollution, noise, affect road safety and INCREASE carbon dioxide, they are in breach of the County Councils own policies on public safety, air pollution and its Manifesto on Climate Change and Carbon Reduction

There is no mention of the mandatory Climate Impact statement.

The Elvaston Castle Gardens Trust (ECGT) is not trusted by the wider Derby and Derbyshire public. To hand over such an important city park to an unknown quantity as the ECGT, who have no previous experience of running such a scheme, does not inspire confidence.

The benefit-cost ratio is incorrect as it takes no account of additional costs- the increasing costs of air pollution to human health, the negative effects of excessive carbon dioxide from unsustainable development and road safety effects, in addition to vague commercialisation ‘promises’ Indeed, it appears that the commercialisation plans will not make any monies for 5 years, (pg278) though it is unclear, we believe the project will founder. The plans do not mention the continuing need for social distancing, which will be with us for the foreseeable future, or possibly until a vaccine is found.  Another lockdown may also be imminent, as the infection rate in England is 3000 on Monday, World Clean Air Day. The ECGT part of the report is glib about the current pandemic and inspires no confidence.  They also send a poor message to future generations, that their plans to worsen effects of the climate emergency and car-induced pollution, carbon dioxide, destruction of natural resources and public services, are nothing to them. Surely the County Council would not do the same, abandoning its ‘duty of care’ and ignoring its own air pollution and climate ambitions (above & pg9 of full cabinet report)

More than ever, at this time of global pandemic and climate emergency, it is vital that Government and local/unitary Councils support and maintain life-giving public services such as parks, (see ONS link above) and extend their duty of care to the public.

We will continue to fight, and support groups such as the Friends of Elvaston Castle Community Group, https://www.facebook.com/friendsofelvastoncastle

and others, against unsustainable plans for roads and car parks in Elvaston Castle Country Park and Gardens, destroying parkland, public open space, greenways, footpaths, bridle paths, trees, habitat, biodiversity and air quality in a priceless Derby city park, on the edge of polluted Derby City.

Yours sincerely

D Skrytek

Derby & South Derbyshire Friends of the Earth

CC Mrs M Beckett MP

South Derbyshire County Council

Derbyshire County Council

Derby City Council Party Leaders

Derby Friends of the Earth stall at Woodland Festival at Elvaston Castle 2008