£35m floating eco-resort plan for former quarry

PUBLISHED: 09:53 26 August 2020 | UPDATED: 13:39 26 August 2020

The new development plans at Ashwicken Lake. Picture: Baca Architects

The new development plans at Ashwicken Lake. Picture: Baca Architects

Baca Architects

A flooded former quarry working could be turned into an eco-friendly leisure resort, bringing 260 jobs and an £8m a year boost to west Norfolk’s economy.

The new development plans at Ashwicken Lake. Picture: Baca ArchitectsThe new development plans at Ashwicken Lake. Picture: Baca Architects

Developer Norfolk Farm Leisure wants to transform Ashwicken Lake near East Winch, with 154 floating and waterside holiday lodges.

Plans for the 200-acre site also include a tree house and a clubhouse on the water.

North West Norfolk MP James Wild said: “This is an attractive proposal to invest in west Norfolk and create new jobs.

The new development plans at Ashwicken Lake. Picture: Baca ArchitectsThe new development plans at Ashwicken Lake. Picture: Baca Architects

“It is encouraging that the developers are consulting with local people before submitting a planning application.

“I look forward to talking to the developers about the plans and issues including traffic management ahead of the public consultation event.”

Local councillor Michael de Whalley said: “This is an extraordinary and visionary project that could significantly boost tourism in west Norfolk but it must not come at the expense of Ashwicken’s residents who have been plagued with issues related to former quarry sites for many years.”

The new development plans at Ashwicken Lake. Picture: Baca ArchitectsThe new development plans at Ashwicken Lake. Picture: Baca Architects

Norfolk Farm Leisure said it was investing £35m in the resort, which would offer pursuits including rowing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, fishing and open water swimming.

It adds: “The proposed resort is an eco-lodge by name and nature, the floating villas will be built to have ultra-low energy demands.

“A car free environment will be promoted with the focus placed on walking, cycling and water-based transport including electric water-taxis.”

The new development plans at Ashwicken Lake. Picture: Baca ArchitectsThe new development plans at Ashwicken Lake. Picture: Baca Architects

Its proposals will go out to public consultation before a formal planning application is made to West Norfolk council.

Norfolk Farm Leisure director Chris Griffin said: “Norfolk boasts beautiful nature and ecological diversity and our proposals for an eco-wellness resort will enable more visitors and locals to enjoy this amazing part of Norfolk.

“Importantly the resort will create hundreds of local jobs and will provide an estimated £8m boost to the local economy.

The new development plans at Ashwicken Lake. Picture: Baca Architects/Google MapsThe new development plans at Ashwicken Lake. Picture: Baca Architects/Google Maps

“We believe it’s essential that local people are able to respond and shape planning applications that may impact them, which is why we are inviting the local community to have their say via our upcoming webinar and on the dedicated website.”

The resort has been designed by London-based Baca Architects, which specialises in building on or near water.

Its director Richard Coutts said: “We’ve designed a unique eco-wellness resort that seamlessly combines nature, ecological diversity and wellbeing. Our masterplan for Ashwicken Lake includes the UK’s first clubhouse on water, lakeside pool facilities and alfresco waterside dinning. The environment is at the heart of our design, all the lodges are interspersed with new planting, trees, follies and water taxi jetties will be provided to explore the resort.”

The virtual consultation webinar takes place on Thursday, September 3 (5-7pm). Residents can visit the project page website here to register to attend the webinar and learn more about the scheme.


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