Application returns for Cheshire watersports park

A revised planning application has been submitted to Cheshire East Council for a £1.6m watersports adventure park in Chelford, with the applicant remaining persistent despite experiencing a back-and-forth of consents and refusals for an earlier scheme.

Cheshire Lakes Community Interest Company is proposing to convert the 55-acre former Hanson Quarry into a facility for wakeboarding, swimming, canoeing and paddle boarding. The centre would make use of two existing lakes, created as part of the quarry’s restoration plan following its closure.

The application was first submitted in 2015, and has experienced a convoluted journey through the planning system.

In July, it was recommended for refusal at the planning committee meeting, due to its perceived negative impact on biodiversity. A decision on the scheme was set to be delayed, but the project mistakenly remained on the committee agenda, and was refused without the applicant being present.

The scheme returned for discussion by the council in August, and was approved. However, following the identification of an error in a council planning report, the scheme was brought back to committee in November, debated once again, and unapproved.

One of the main points of contention has been the scheme’s impact on birds visiting the site in the future. Because of this, according to Cheshire Lakes the new application includes ecological enhancements, such as the creation of two islands to because breeding grounds for bids. The proposals also now include sand banks for use by Sand Martins, and the creation of new hedges, wild flower meadows and reed beds.

Manchester Airport has been fully consulted on the re-submission and has worked alongside Cheshire Lakes to create a detailed bird management plan that ensures large birds do not cause added risk to the Manchester Airport flight zone.

Tim Woodhead, managing director of Cheshire Lakes, said: “The huge amount of local consultation we have done has shown massive support for our project. The general consensus from people we speak to, is that they can’t believe the application has not yet been approved. We know the majority of the public want this amazing facility to be delivered so they can enjoy an in demand and much needed outdoor reaction and sporting facility in the Cheshire countryside.”

Walsingham Planning was lead consultant, working alongside AECOM, Campbell Reith, FOB Design UK and Urban Green.

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I’m sure CEC will find a way to mess up again

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