Water­sports firm in fresh quarry bid

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART GREER

AWATeRSpoRTS firm are mak­ing a sec­ond bid to con­vert a for­mer quarry site af­ter a plan­ning de­ba­cle.

Cheshire Lakes wants to build the £1.6m cen­tre at the old Mere Farm Quarry in Chelford.

Last year, it took a coun­cil plan­ning com­mit­tee THRee at­tempts to rule on the scheme af­ter first re­fus­ing it, then ap­prov­ing it, then re­fus­ing it again.

Now an­other scheme has been sub­mit­ted to ad­dress the ma­jor con­cerns plan­ners had over its po­ten­tial im­pact on bio­di­ver­sity par­tic­u­larly birds. Cheshire Lakes plans to cre­ate a wa­ter park for ac­tiv­i­ties such as wake­board­ing, pad­dle sports and open wa­ter swim­ming.

There will also be an aqua ad­ven­ture park. The site will also boast a cafe, shop, chang­ing fa­cil­i­ties and park­ing for 100 cars.

Cheshire Lakes has promised ‘ma­jor eco­log­i­cal en­hance­ments’ in­clud­ing two new islands on the South Lake for breed­ing birds and sand banks to pre­vent Sand Mar­tins breed­ing on site.

Tim Wood­head from Cheshire Lakes said: “The huge amount of lo­cal con­sul­ta­tion we have done has shown mas­sive sup­port for our pro­ject. The gen­eral con­sen­sus from peo­ple we speak to, is that they can’t be­lieve the ap­pli­ca­tion has not yet been ap­proved.

We know the ma­jor­ity of the pub­lic want this amaz­ing fa­cil­ity to be de­liv­ered so they can en­joy an in de­mand and much needed out­door re­ac­tion and sport­ing fa­cil­ity in the Cheshire coun­try­side.”

The scheme was first heard by Cheshire east Coun­cil’s strate­gic plan­ning com­mit­tee last Au­gust where it was re­fused be­cause Manch­ester Air­port com­plained it would in­crease the risk of bird strikes on planes.

But a coun­cil blun­der meant the vote went ahead with­out the ap­pli­cant and a sec­ond hear­ing was set. Cheshire Lakes over­came the air­port’s wor­ries and was given plan­ning per­mis­sion.

But an ob­jec­tor threat­ened to take it to Ju­di­cial Re­view be­cause coun­cil­lors had not taken proper ac­count of the im­pact on wildlife.

The ap­pli­ca­tion went back to the com­mit­tee in Novem­ber for a third time and was re­fused.

For the last 20 years the quarry, which takes up an area of 53.5 acres, has been used to ex­tract sand and is cur­rently be­ing trans­formed into a nat­u­ral wildlife re­serve.

If it is ap­proved the park is ex­pected to cre­ate more than 30 jobs and could open next year.

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