Denver Sluice ideas put forward

Denver - Sluice ENGANL00120121128161749
Denver - Sluice ENGANL00120121128161749
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A public exhibition will be held this week of plans which could turn a major West Norfolk flood defence mechanism into a visitor attraction.

Officials say more needs to be done to bring visitors to the Denver Sluice complex so it is less reliant on government funding in the future.

Ideas including a visitor centre, water sports and boat mooring facilities and even a water taxi to and from Downham are being considered as part of the scheme.

And residents can find out more about the project at a session to be held at the Environment Agency’s office on the site this Thursday, March 19, between 2 and 7pm.

Ian Bliss, the agency’s waterways partnerships director, said: “We would like to encourage as many people as possible to come along to hear about the ideas to improve the Denver Complex for visitors.

“We will be on hand to answer any questions and are keen to get views and ideas to help develop the proposals.”

Landscape architects Richard Glen Associates have been appointed to study the potential options for development of the site.

However, the agency has stressed that the scheme is at a very early stage and that, following the consultation, more detailed proposals will be developed. There is currently no timescale of when any works may begin.

Options suggested so far include work to make the complex a base for water sports, improved facilities for mooring, new wetland habitats and wildlife trails, plus a visitor centre.

The feasibility of a water taxi, linking the complex with Downham’s railway station, or a revived bus service are also being looked at.

The project is part of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership’s wider work to promote the area as a tourist destination.

The partnership has already received just under 
£1 million of Heritage Lottery funding.

And the agency believes there is significant potential to increase visitor numbers, because of its waterway links.

The partnership’s website adds: “The realisation of this aim will create a sustainable legacy at the Denver Complex and allow the Environment Agency, as the Navigation Authority for the River Great Ouse, to move towards its goal of creating a more sustainable navigation business that is less reliant on Government Grant in Aid funding and can meet more of the modern day customer demands that are placed upon the business.

“This project will provide the foundation upon which this aim can start to be realised for the site.

“In its current state, the complex, although performing an adequate operational purpose for water management in the area, is an underutilised asset in terms of a visitor attraction