Public footpaths through a popular beauty spot could be redirected to make way for a massive eco-village powered entirely by four wind turbines.
Claymoss Properties wants to build the UK’s first eco-friendly holiday camp at the Maer Hills site at Whitmore, near Newcastle.
The 159-hectare development includes plans for 800 timber lodges among existing woodlands, two hotels, a golf course, two lakes and a central village area with amenities.
The plans have sparked outrage, and now residents fear woodland walks used for decades could be lost to the development.
Claymoss admits it would need to redirect two public walks away from their planned development, and residents are worried that should the Evolution Leisure Village win planning approval, Maer Hills could become a virtual no-go area for anyone who wasn’t staying at the holiday camp.
Resident David Kendrick, aged 44, of Nantwich Road, Blackbrook, said: “The company wants to get rid of these footpaths.
“I have seen people up at Maer Hills from Claymoss carrying out a survey to see how many people use the footpath.
“If the footpaths were redirected, a lot of old people would not use them.
“To redirect the footpaths would be likely to put them up the steep banks at Maer Hills, and that would mean old people would not be able to use them.
“Where the footpaths are now, anyone can use them. This is a massive concern.”
Louise Clowes, aged 32, of the Maer Hills Protection Group, said: “Footpaths run through the middle of the planned leisure complex.
“We would not be very happy about the footpaths being lost.
“We’ve been told there would be no access through the camp, so what will they do – fence it off like the Monkey Forest at Trentham?”
Claymoss has confirmed it would need to redirect two footpaths.
Company representatives will be at Ironmarket, in Newcastle, to speak to members of the public about the plans from Tuesday until Saturday, from 10am to 5pm.
By Richard Ault
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