Posted: Friday 5 June 2020, 09:13
Community safety partners are reassuring residents in Harpur Hill that they will continue with measures to deter visitors to Hoffman Quarry this weekend despite the expected change to cooler, showery weather.
Visitors have flocked to the site – a former industrial quarry on privately-owned land – to swim in the water and spend time outdoors during recent weeks despite repeated warnings about the dangers of the water and appeals to behave responsibly and respect the local community.
The water – which has a PH level similar to bleach and contains other hazards - has been dyed black to make it less attractive and new signage highlighting the dangers has been put up on the site.
Despite this, people have continued to travel to the site. The inconsiderate, and sometimes dangerous, parking, the amount of litter left behind and other anti-social behaviour displayed by a number of these visitors has caused problems for residents which High Peak Borough Council and the Police and Fire service are working together to address.
Executive Councillor for the Environment and Community Safety, Jean Todd, said: “We and our partners are continuing to keep the situation in Harpur Hill under review to support residents who suffer the consequences of the irresponsible behaviour of those people that come to the quarry and show no respect to local communities.
“The change in the weather will hopefully put people off coming this weekend – and even if that doesn’t, the litter and the mess that has been left behind by previous visitors should hopefully deter them from staying and adding to the problem!
“Our message remains the same – and we can’t stress it enough – this former industrial quarry is most definitely not a ‘visitor attraction’ and people should stay away for their own safety.”
Last weekend the Police issued almost 50 fines for parking offences and seized two vehicles which were parked dangerously.
Sergeant Adam Harrison, the safer neighbourhood sergeant, said: “Over the weekend a substantial partnership operation took place which resulted in dozens of fines for drivers parking their cars illegally. In two cases, the parking was so dangerous that the cars had to be seized.
“We continue to work with our partner organisations to help resolve the situation and deter people from attending the quarry by explaining the very real dangers it poses. The situation will remain under close observation and officers will continue working in the area to provide a visible presence over the coming days.
“I would like to thank residents for their continued support to both my officers and partner agencies over the past weeks.”
Since the weekend, firefighters have attended two separate grass fires at the quarry.
Group Manager Paul Hawker from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Firefighters and members of the Service’s water safety prevention team have been maintaining a presence at Hoffman Quarry over the last week putting up water safety signs and speaking to visitors explaining the dangers and the very real risk of drowning that the cold water presents.
“We are continuing to work with our partners to deter visitors, maintaining a visible presence at the quarry where possible, and we will continue to explore other ways of deterring visitors to a site that is anything but the idyllic tourist attraction that it has been described as – it now resembles a waste tip with discarded unpleasant rubbish.
“I’d like to remind people that cold water causes your body to go into shock, you gasp for air, your muscles spasm and you become disorientated – even the strongest swimmers can quickly get into difficulty.
“Our message is quite simple, stay away – the quarry is private land and you are trespassing and the water is dangerous and you will be at high risk of drowning if you go swimming there.”