Council chief ‘disappointed and upset’ American Adventure plans could be axed

MDB090109e1'Overgrown: The old American adventure site.
MDB090109e1'Overgrown: The old American adventure site.

A council chief says he is “disappointed and upset” that developers might axe plans to transform the shambolic American Adventure site into housing – insisting his “door is always open” for talks.

Last week, The News reported that Waystone Developments is undecided whether to continue with its multi-million pound project to turn the former theme park into housing, after several planning applications were rejected.

Developers slammed Amber Valley Borough Council for its “negative feedback” and said the company had other projects elsewhere in the country where people wanted them to invest money.

But this week Paul Jones, leader of the council, has hit back at the criticism – insisting the authority is desperate for the “hideous” former site to be developed.

Cllr Jones said: “I was genuinely disappointed and upset when I discovered that’s how the developers felt.

“The council thought we had made some progress, but that’s not the case. We have worked with the company, advised them on the best way forward, so there is no need for more expensive applications or appeals.

“It is vital that this site gets developed as it is unsightly and dangerous – but they just did not provide enough information for councillors to approve it.

“We are always here, though, and my door is always open if they wanted to speak.”

Cllr Jones said that there had been expressions of interest from other companies to develop the site, which is situated on a semi-derelict site between Ilkeston and Ripley and closed to the public in 2007.

Waystone Developments made two applications to Amber Valley Borough Council to redevelop the former American Adventure theme park, in Pit Lane, Shipley, last year - both of which were refused by the authority.

The first application featured 300 homes, a retirement village, business park and hotel on the semi-derelict site, as well as a restaurant, health and care campus and leisure garden.

However after the application was refused by councillors who claimed the plans were not detailed enough, Waystone Developments bounced back with another proposal. The second application was for 307 homes, a retirement village, neighbourhood retail, business, employment and leisure space as well as a pub, hotel and health and care campus.

However this application was also turned down after councillors raised concerns about the lack of detail provided by the developers.

When the theme park closed down, thieves quickly stripped scrap metal and other valuable items from the site.

Since then, it has slipped into ruin and firm plans to develop the site have continued to elude residents and councillors.