The £35 million floating eco-resort vision for Ashwicken goes to planners
Proposals to create a unique £35 million lakeside eco wellness and leisure resort at Ashwicken have gone to West Norfolk planners.
The farming company that owns the 200 acre former quarry site and lake says that it will create an estimated 260 jobs, bring something new and distinct to attract visitors to the area and inject £8 million into the Norfolk economy and £6.4 million into West Norfolk.
Norfolk Farm Leisure's vision for the scheme includes 60 floating and lakeside holiday lodges, 31 private villas, 23 tree houses, 40 apartments on a floating island and the UK's first floating clubhouse which would have a restaurant and spa.
There would be follies, viewing platforms, a bird hide, jetties and a boathouse with facilities for 'quiet' water sports such a kayaking, paddle boarding and swimming. Tennis courts and cycle hire are also in the mix.
The planning application also includes staff accommodation, car parking, electric vehicle charging points, renewable energy generation, site security measures, drainage, hard and soft landscaping and biodiversity enhancements together with highway improvements to East Winch Road, Church Lane and Ashwicken Road and a temporary construction access route.
When the applicants first unveiled the plan last summer it met a mixed reaction from residents living at Ashwicken and neighbouring East Winch and Leziate.
Some welcomed the scheme but others were up in arms, warning that the roads would not cope, concerned about possible noise and also losing the use of a long-standing local beauty spot.
There were public consultations and an exhibition last year and more than 500 residents and businesses received brochures outlining the details of the scheme. There were 99 replies to a feedback form with 36 in favour, 47 objecting and the rest either unsure or non-committal.
Since the original proposals were made public, the applicants have made some changes to address concerns. They have withdrawn plans for a wedding venue and have earmarked a temporary access route that will take construction traffic across their own agricultural land instead of going through residential areas.
The planning statement also pledges there will be noisy water sports such as jet skis, confirms that local people will have access to the facilities and that there will be a commitment to see the jobs going to local people.
If the scheme gets approval it is estimated that it will take 18 months to build.