Bewl Water and parish council meet over fishing lodge row

Olympian Louis Smith
DISUSED: The fishing lodge

Ticehurst Parish Council had objected to the plans to convert the disused lodge into holiday lets over ‘ecological concerns’.

Parish councillors had told the local planning authority that Bewl Water had not been transparent with its plans and had not communicated with them.

However, a row erupted after it emerged the parish council had refused to meet the water park operators, who had their planning application rejected by Wealden District Council last month, despite the reservoir asking on four occasions to meet them.

Bewl Water is now appealing Wealden District Council’s decision in a move that could land taxpayers with a heft legal bill.

On Thursday February 10, Ticehurst Parish Council, along with leader of Wealden District Council, Bob Standley, and Cllr Johanna Howell, head of the planning committee (north), met with Bewl’s team to discuss the reservoir’s development plan.

Mr Andrew Daniells, Business Director  at Bewl Water said the 90-minute meeting was ‘very productive’.

He added: “We presented the simplified Bewl Water masterplan, which is founded on a site wide landscape and visual appraisal and on an extensive leisure and tourism market analysis and showed a number of development options to protect the future of Bewl Water.

“We were able to show the Parish and District Councillors how Bewl’s watersports have diversified to be more inclusive and attract more people to the reservoir.

“A lot of care has been taken to diversify water activities, which has attracted more windsurfers, paddle boarders, wing-foilers and, importantly, sailing schools and junior dinghy training sections. 

“The diversity of Bewl Water’s recreational activity has never been so wide or popular.

“We hope that following this meeting, all parties can work positively together to find the ‘balance’ between the need to diversify and ensure the longevity of the site and to protect and enhance the landscapes of the High Weald and look forward to meeting with interested parties in the near future.”

Ticehurst Parish Council were approached for comment.

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