Residents to have say in Water Park's future

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Residents to have say in Water Park's future

People living within the Cotswold Water Park are being invited to comment on plans for its future during a six-week public consultation.

Commissioned by the Cotswold Water Park Joint Committee, which is made up of the five local authorities with responsibility for the area, together with the Cotswold Water Park Society, the plans set out a long-term strategic vision for the development of the area over the next 20 years.

As well as residents, all those interested in having a say in the area's future are being asked to visit the Cotswold Water Park Society's website (www.waterpark.org) where there is an on-line survey to capture residents' opinions and feedback.

“This consultation is an exciting opportunity for residents to shape the future of their neighbourhood,” commented Dennis Grant, chief executive of the Cotswold Water Park Society. “I'd encourage anyone interested in the future of this area to visit the website and give us their views on our plans.

“The vision for the future includes a number of exciting proposals which we believe will significantly benefit both local residents and visitors. However, we're keen to ensure that local residents have the opportunity to review and comment on our plans, which is why we have launched this consultation.”

Suggestions up for debate include:

- a 'conservation corridor' from near Kemble to Lechlade, linking a number of significant nature reserves and conservation-based visitor attractions
- a water sports complex to include an Olympic size rowing course that could host regional competitions and offer training opportunities as well as provide a venue for local events such as dragon boat racing
- a national angling centre to support what is already a major sport in the area and build on existing water sports and tourism facilities
- eco-friendly, family orientated and water related leisure developments
- diversification of existing agricultural land to provide potential for the growth of biomass fuels, provision of tourist accommodation or increased sustainable farming

Under the plans, local residents will also benefit from an integrated network of recreational routes, including footpaths, cycle paths, bridleways and towpaths. There are also plans for a water taxi to travel along the Thames and Seven Canal and North Wiltshire Canal. These will provide opportunities for sustainable travel between the numerous towns and villages within the Cotswold Water Park, allowing residents and visitors to explore the area.

Councillor Shaun Parsons, chair of the Joint Committee representing the relevant local Councils added: “We believe that there is a real need for a soundly planned future for the environment of the Cotswold Water Park. We want people living in towns such as Fairford, Lechlade and Cricklade and villages like South Cerney and Ashton Keynes to benefit from both the conservation proposals and leisure and recreational opportunities provided by such development opportunities and for the local economy to see significant gains from increased visitor interest.”

In addition to the online survey, a number of workshops are being held with Government and non-government agencies and other organisations with a stake in the park such as landowners, mineral operators and those responsible for the recreational facilities.

More details are available on the Cotswold Water Park Society website www.waterpark.org. Comments can be made via the online consultation until the 7 March 2008.


Posted : 23/01/2008 15:41:04

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