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Parish council remain neutral on £35m leisure resort plans as residents ask for talks with developers

A parish council will not take a stance on a multi-million pound plan for a new lakeside leisure complex until a formal planning application has been submitted.

Leziate Parish Council is holding discussions regarding an extraordinary meeting taking place so that developers can speak to parishioners face-to-face regarding their vision to develop an eco-wellness resort at Ashwicken Lake .

This is in response to a large percentage of the population being elderly and not having access to computers after Norfolk Farm Leisure Ltd held a webinar on Zoom earlier this month regarding the plans.

The proposed Ashwicken Lake masterplan
The proposed Ashwicken Lake masterplan

During a recent parish council meeting, a parishioner said she was "extremely disappointed" with the webinar on Thursday, September 3 as she had put forward eight questions and none were answered.

Another parishioner told the meeting the webinar offered "no interaction and no voice" for locals. The online consultation webinar lasted for two hours.

Chairman Andy Parker said the parish council's position is neutral until planning is in place and agreed that more meetings were necessary.

Mr Parker said: "If the parish council takes a stance or thinks it is a bad idea, when it goes to planning our council secures their submission as not being neutral which is a very fine line to take."

He added that the council is exploring the possibility of holding a socially distanced meeting with developers in which parishioners would be allowed in one at a time and see the plans in person.

But Mr Parker admitted this could be difficult to arrange due to coronavirus restrictions. The parish council said this could possibly take place in October.

Parish clerk Caroline Boyden asked the parishioners to forward any copies of questions that remain unanswered and the council will then put them to the developers.

The 80-hectare site at the old Wicken Quarry would be car-free and have 132 floating and lakeside holiday lodges and 22 treehouses.

Leisure facilities would include rowing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, fishing, tennis and archery.

Norfolk Leisure says the development would create 260 jobs and give an £8m injection to the local economy.

It has launched a project website (www.wickenwater.com).

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