The existing Showground is the traditional much-loved location for holding large events at Elvaston Castle. In the short to medium term it is envisaged that this will not be relocated and will continue to be used as the Estate’s principal events space as well as for community recreation. Longer term the area may remain the Estate’s principal events space or, if not, it could be retained as a secondary events space, communal recreational space or for use as pasture. Keeping the Showground in its current location will not affect the proposal to relocate the main car park. The existing main car park, if retained in its current form, will only be used to support specific events on the Showground.
Whilst the current Showground has been the location of many successful events, due to the hydrology of the site the number of times it can be used is limited as it quickly becomes water logged and can require considerable recovery time between events. Further research is needed to establish whether additional drainage measures can be implemented at the existing Showground to ensure regular and maximised use thus providing the best possible visitor experience, reassuring operators that events are less likely to be cancelled due to waterlogging, and generating the highest possible revenue for re-investment at Elvaston.
If suitable drainage solutions for the existing Showground cannot be found and implemented, or are ineffective in the short term, it may be necessary to carry out similar research into the drainage characteristics (and any necessary mitigation potential) of Oak Flat (the previously suggested replacement), to assess this as a possible alternative option in the longer term. As Oak Flat is at a higher level than the existing Showground it is considered likely to be better-drained.
In the short to medium term Oak Flat will therefore continue to be let as pastoral farmland. It should be noted that most of this area is tenanted land, however some areas have been given over for permissive public recreational access following requests from the local community.
The new car park is equally convenient for both the current Showground and Oak Flat fields. Because of the new access, visitors to events are therefore less likely to contribute to congestion in the neighbouring settlements of Thulston, Elvaston and Borrowash.