After two previous attempts to gain consent to create a waterpark and leisure facility at the former Mere Quarry in Chelford, developer Adventure Lakes will try again at next week’s Cheshire East planning committee.
Jonathan Vose, director of Walsingham Planning, advising Adventure Lakes on the scheme, said: “The previous appeal was dismissed in October 2017. Whilst the Inspector accepted that the delivery of the proposed use was acceptable in the Green Belt, delivered various benefits and did not create any significant ecological harms, she felt on balance, that the scale of the proposed buildings and structures had the potential to harm the open character of the Green Belt.
“Accordingly, our resubmission sought to substantially reduce the scale of on-site buildings, concentrate all leisure activities on one of the two lakes, and greatly reduce the length and structures associated with the wakeboarding course.
“The scheme going before members represents a site area 36% smaller than was the case in the appeal scheme and with on-site buildings reduced in scale by 86%.”
The 55-acre site off Stubby Lane, Chelford Road, and Alderley Road is part of a former sand quarry and lies within the Green Belt. It is comprised of two lakes, North Lake and South Lake, which are being naturally filled by water.
The site was mined for sand and gravel by Hanson until 2014 when a regeneration and remediation began.
The proposals include open water swimming facilities, kayaking, wakeboarding, paddle boarding, and a seasonal floating activity course.
According to the planning officers, “the nature of the use means a countryside location, where restrictive policies apply. The built form proposed would be the minimum necessary to enable the use to take place. The harm to the openness of the Green Belt would also be limited by the minimal spread of development and low height of the structures.”
Adventure Lakes operates other centres in the UK, including schemes in Edinburgh, Dundee and Delamere Forest, all of which are similarly scaled. It also supplies and builds wakeboard and waterspouts centres across Europe.
The professional team includes Fob Design, Avian Ecology, Mode Transport, Urban Green and Campbell Reith.
Vose went on to say: “The previous applications endured a fairly tortuous route at Planning Committee, with numerous twists and turns ensuing in terms of Officer recommendation and Council procedure. No Members of the current Strategic Planning Board have previously considered the proposals.
“Noting this, the very clear and supportive Officer’s Report and the substantive changes made to the application since the previous appeal, we are hopeful that this will enable the proposals to be considered afresh and on the basis of their varied and far reaching merits.”
The committee meets on Wednesday 26 February.