Less than three miles from Chesterfield Waterside, site enabling work is underway at the UK’s largest leisure development, Peak Resort.

Peak Resort is an integrated leisure, health, sport and education resort on the Birchall Estate, Unstone. The all-year-round tourism destination will be open to day and overnight guests, offering all-weather activities, events and a digital retail experience.

Peak Resort is being built on 300 acres of reclaimed open cast land just off the A61 outside Chesterfield.

£2.8 million of funding from Sheffield City Region’s Infrastructure Fund was awarded to build the consented A61 development access, the new public footpaths and bridleway network around the site and the site security.  Chesterfield–based earthworks and landscaping contractor NT Killingley Ltd is currently on site installing fencing and creating paths and bridal ways for public use.

The completion of this work will pave the way for the construction of two hotels, student hostel accommodation, a treetop cycleway, amphitheatre and lake and an educational campus. The first phase of Peak Resort is expected to open in 2019 and will deliver 1000s of visitors to the local economy.

The SCR funding will also facilitate the connection of Peak Resort to the bicycle and footpath networks into the National Park, the town, the city and the countryside in between.

Explaining why he chose the location for the premier leisure development, Rupert Carr, director of Birchall properties said: “The Peak District National Park is on the doorstep of Peak Resort. We are within 75 miles of five of the six biggest cities in England and more than 20 million of the population. The Peak District offers 1,600 miles of trails for walkers and cyclists and a 365 days a year economy which was a big attraction to our US investor.

He added: “Peak Resort will not be a replica of Center Parcs, we do not want to gate people within the resort, rather we want to act as a gateway to surrounding attractions.”

Peak Resort is a joint venture partnership between Birchall Properties and US firm Grand Heritage Hotel Group. Once complete, the development will provide 1300 full-time jobs. Peak Resort will be built in three phases.

John Burrows, Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council said: “Peak Resort is a massive boost to Chesterfield’s leisure and tourism activity. It will bring international spend into the tourism market in Chesterfield.

“It’s not only an exciting development but a massive job opportunity for young and older people in Chesterfield. There are 300 jobs in construction on the site alone. It’s a great opportunity for the town and businesses here. The council will be doing everything it can to drive Peak Resort forward.”

Outline planning consent for Peak Resort was granted in 1989 and the developer has worked tirelessly since then with Chesterfield Borough Council to make the development a reality.