The campsite at North Lees will benefit from improvements

The campsite at North Lees will benefit from improvements

National park bosses have voted to improve a popular campsite used by climbers and walkers.

The North Lees site will have a £60,000 upgrade to bring facilities up to date and introduce an online booking system.

The site, under Stanage Edge, one of the Peak District’s most popular climbing venues, has been owed by the national park authority since 1976.

Members of the authority’s audit, resources and performance committee made the decision to maintain its ownership and improve the 60-pitch site despite public-sector cuts of 30 per cent imposed by the coalition Government. The authority said it was also considering installing four camping pods.

New showers, improved toilets, the use of environmentally friendly technologies and using the site as a visitor hub, are among the improvements being proposed. The committee made its decision at a meeting yesterday.

Committee chair, Councillor Andrew McCloy said: “We are as passionate about Stanage and the North Lees estate as local communities and user groups are, but we have had to review all our properties to manage the 30 per cent reduction in budget we were dealt by public-sector funding cuts.

“We carefully considered a number of options for running the campsite and concluded that it is in everyone’s interest that we continue to manage it as an integral part of the North Lees estate.”

The campsite is close to the climbing crags of Stanage Edge

The campsite is close to the climbing crags of Stanage Edge

The work will be overseen by the North Lees manager Rebekah Newman, who was appointed in December.

Representatives from the British Mountaineering Council, Stanage Forum and several local residents spoke at the meeting in support of the campsite being retained and invested in.

The BMC’s Henry Folkard spoke of the campsite being part of the Peak District national park’s ‘social responsibility in reaching out to a diverse and often under-represented community in Sheffield, the Peak and elsewhere’.

Local farmer James Summerline was keen to see the campsite continuing to ‘promote the national park, its wildlife, its tranquillity, and its beauty. And to encourage people to visit the park and enjoy it in a responsible way.’

Hope Valley resident Jean Hodgkinson said: “It is absolutely essential this campsite continues to be provided as part of the economy not just of the national park, or the North Lees estate, but also of the nearby village of Hathersage.”

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