PEAK developers appoint award-winning architects and confirm new opening date for £150m resort outside Chesterfield

Award-winning architects Stanton Williams have been appointed to design The Gateway at PEAK, consented on 300 acres of reclaimed land located on the eastern boundary of the Peak District National Park at Unstone.

The Gateway is phase one of a £300m capital investment into the UK’s post-Brexit visitor economy. The development is intended to play an important role in cementing Chesterfield as a destination town and incorporating it into the Peak District experience – providing visitors and the local community with low impact ways to explore the National Park thanks to a zero-carbon travel hub.

As well as creating this travel hub, the development will include a 165 room resort hotel, a variety of food and drink outlets and extensive experiential retail spaces – facilitating all types of outdoor pursuits and wellbeing. The team behind The Gateway at PEAK have also confirmed that it is due to open in Winter 2026.

The Gateway @PEAK, a bird's eye view.The Gateway @PEAK, a bird's eye view.
The Gateway @PEAK, a bird’s eye view.

The Gateway will be built on a low carbon infrastructure, with the ambition of generating its own energy and processing its own waste with a zero-carbon transport service – connecting visitors to attractions in the Peak District without the need for their car.

Peak Gateway Properties has briefed the team to define and design The Gateway around the principles of a ‘regenerative enterprise’, promoting the restoration and regeneration of natural resources and social systems.

The founders of Birchall Properties, the landowner, have already invested over 35 years in nature recovery and passive rewilding on the 300-acre Birchall Estate – which had been the subject of extensive open-cast activities. By way of the Environment Act 2021, any development on the property must achieve a biodiversity net gain of at least 10% on its pre-development status.

The Gateway at PEAK will be an international standard tourist destination providing a basecamp and a gateway into the Peak District National Park. Like a ski resort, the resort will be built around a carless mobility service, but rather than offering mountains and skiing, it will provide access into the Peaks for biking, hiking, nature, heritage, sport and culture.

The Gateway @PEAK location.The Gateway @PEAK location.
The Gateway @PEAK location.

The commercial village will comprise of experiential retail, locally sourced dining and unique spaces for events, artisan craft and learning experiences.

John Milligan, CEO of Peak Gateway Properties and Chairman of Milligan, said: “It used to be that an iconic building was one that stood out from its surroundings. The Gateway will be iconic, but we’re setting a new standard for what that means. Here buildings will integrate with their surroundings and work to enhance biodiversity beyond what will be mandated.

“We want to attract a discerning visitor, who cares about the protection of the UK’s original National Park and wants to enjoy the wellbeing benefits that nature and being in the outdoors, for either leisure or sport, can provide. A wide range of experiential retail brands with a unique proposition centred on nature and the outdoors will help create the destination.

The team behind The Gateway at PEAK have also confirmed that it is due to open in Winter 2026.The team behind The Gateway at PEAK have also confirmed that it is due to open in Winter 2026.
The team behind The Gateway at PEAK have also confirmed that it is due to open in Winter 2026.

“The travel hub is central to the Gateway’s proposition, allowing visitors to transition into electric or hydrogen vehicles for onward exploration of the Peak District, its stunning landscapes and thousands of activities and attractions. This is a way to expand access to the park and support more destinations in a low impact way.

“Currently, 85% of visitors travel into the National Park by car, which is not sustainable. Last year we ran the first trial for the travel hub alongside Toyota and other local partners. The technology operated on a 40% regenerative energy basis which is fantastic. The trial stakeholders and users endorsed the urgent requirement for this sort of service – when it’s up and running we hope it will be an exemplar for other hubs around the Park and for other National Parks in the UK to follow.”

Gavin Henderson, Principal Director at Stanton Williams, said: “We are delighted to be working with PEAK Gateway Properties to realise their ambitious vision for this exceptional site. The Gateway will be a unique destination designed as a cohesive group of buildings integrated into the landscape.

“The scheme embraces the principles of the circular economy and uses highly sustainable, durable materials – including local stone and timber. As well as regenerating a former open-cast mine, it supports natural ecosystems through habitat protection and enhancement, while connecting people with nature and encouraging active and low-carbon travel to and within the Peak District.”

An artist's impression of how the health and wellness centre at PEAK could look.An artist's impression of how the health and wellness centre at PEAK could look.
An artist’s impression of how the health and wellness centre at PEAK could look.

Rupert Carr, a founder shareholder in Birchall Properties, the landowner, and a director of PEAK Gateway Properties, said: “The planning consents for PEAK Gateway Resort were implemented and safeguarded in 2016. We are very pleased to be moving forward again after surviving the challenges of Brexit and Covid-19.

“The realisation of Gateway fulfils our long-held ambition to showcase regenerative enterprise through land reclamation, a low carbon build and significant local employment creation.

“It is particularly pleasing to be a first mover in respect of offering tourists a zero carbon, carless mobility service to the attractions and landscapes of the UK’s first national park and to the medieval market town of Chesterfield.”

The Gateway, phase one of the PEAK Gateway Resort, represents a £150m capital investment and over 1,000 jobs, secured through a ‘green economy’ skills academy.

Section 73 and Reserved Matters Applications relating to the consented planning approvals will be submitted to Chesterfield Borough Council in early Autumn.

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