Opportunity for a world-class surf & leisure development for Dorset

 

Dorset based W. H. White is seeking views on an exciting and unique opportunity for a world-class leisure attraction in Dorset. The nature-focused proposals comprise significant improvements to Avon Heath Country Park and an inland surf lagoon at land southeast of A31 Ringwood Road, either side of Brocks Pine in St Leonards, Dorset.

W. H. White control the land on either side of Brocks Pine and Dorset Council control Avon Heath Country Park. Key to the vision is therefore the opportunity to work collaboratively to create a much-improved country park, alongside a significant area of natural greenspace to preserve and protect the Dorset Heaths at no cost to the tax payer.

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The wider Avon Heath Country Park will continue to be owned and operated by Dorset Council, providing the same popular facilities, open spaces and events that it does currently.

The proposed surf lagoon, which is supported by Surf England, is a once in a generation opportunity for Dorset to cement its reputation as a surf destination and hold its own against cities like Bristol and Birmingham which have developed inland surf lagoons that are already drawing visitors, tourism and expenditure from the region.

This exciting vision would bring investment and job creation supporting key local economic sectors most impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and deliver significant education, health and wellbeing benefits.

The proposed site is located at land south east of A31 Ringwood Road, either side of Brocks Pine in St Leonards, Dorset. The site location can be seen on the map below.

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W. H. White control the land on either side of Brocks Pine and Dorset Council control Avon Heath Country Park. Key to the vision is therefore the opportunity to work collaboratively to create a much-improved country park, alongside a significant area of natural greenspace to preserve and protect the Dorset Heaths at no cost to the tax payer.

Outdoor recreation has been shown to be a suitable use in this type location, and there is a clear case for very special circumstances given the compelling economic, environmental and social benefits, which we will clearly set out as we move forward.

Similar very special circumstances were endorsed for surf lagoon facilities in Bristol and Birmingham, neither of which included the associated benefits to the protected heathland that this proposal will deliver.

Visitors typically visit the proposed surf and SANG uses outside of peak hours. Discussions have begun with Highways England in this regard.

Crucially, Natural England support the emerging proposals and are particularly keen to see the land close to Brocks Pine, earmarked for the proposed surf lagoon, taken out of intensive arable use which will reduce nitrogen and phosphate emissions, thereby also improving the local water environment.

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Surfing

Mountain Biking

Play Areas

Climbing Walls

Nature Walks

Natural Open Spaces

Family Walks

Activities for all ages

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Surfing is one of the quickest growing sports both globally and in the UK and made its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 in Japan.

Dorset based W. H. White is bringing forward exciting proposals for an inland surf lagoon at land southeast of A31 Ringwood Road, either side of Brocks Pine in St Leonards, Dorset.

An inland surfing lagoon is a world-class sports, leisure and surf destination where the whole family can surf on consistent, safe waves. The proposed cove-shaped lagoon will produce white-water waves for beginners, up to 1.8-metre barrelling waves for elite surfers and a family orientated environment for all to enjoy.


 

The proposed surf lagoon, which is supported by governing body Surf England, is a once in a generation opportunity for Dorset to cement its reputation as a surf destination and natural playground. This world class facility will ensure Dorset continues to hold its own against cities like Bristol and Birmingham which have developed inland surf lagoons that are already drawing visitors, tourism and expenditure from Dorset.

The economic benefits of surf lagoons are clear from the empirical evidence of The Wave in Bristol which has proved exceptionally popular, with a need to book well in advance and attracting visitors from all corners of the UK and further afield throughout the entire year. The proposed surf lagoon will directly support the creation of up to 40 new jobs aimed at local people.

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Such an attraction will promote year-round linked trips and staycations, securing significant benefits to the tourism and hospitality economy in Dorset and help deliver the step-change required to lead the regional recovery from the Covid 19 pandemic.

The proposed surf lagoon will incorporate the latest solar photovoltaic technology in order to create on-site renewable energy to contribute towards the operation of the lagoon.

Crucially, Natural England support the emerging proposals and are particularly keen to see the land earmarked for the proposed surf lagoon taken out of intensive arable use which will reduce nitrogen and phosphate emissions, thereby also improving the local water environment.

View of Avon Heath visitor center

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(Click to enlarge)

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‘Adaptive Surfing’ is the requirement for assistance, specialised equipment or an adapted surfing experience in order to make surfing accessible to all.

The proposed surf lagoon here at Brocks Pine will provide an accessible and enjoyable surf experience for those requiring adaptive surfing and who otherwise might not be able to access the water owing to natural barriers such as cliff paths and beaches.

This means that the amazing opportunities and benefits from surfing can be made available to all at Brocks Pine, whether this is an adaptive surfer looking for a taster session, or an elite athlete, such as a Paralympian, looking for a regular training facility.

Key to the site vision is the opportunity to work collaboratively to create a much-improved country park, alongside a significant area of natural greenspace to preserve and protect the Dorset Heaths at no cost to the tax payer.

At present, facilities at Avon Heath Country Park are constrained and offer all too convenient access to the surrounding heathland, which exponentially increases recreational pressure on the internationally protected habitat.

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Through a collaborative approach with Dorset Council there is an opportunity to maximise public benefit by reshaping Avon Heath Country Park through relocating the visitor car parking, reception point and visitor facilities (some of which are approaching the end of their design life).

This strategy would deliver new purpose-built facilities and significant environmental benefit by intercepting visitors further away from the heathland, thereby reducing recreational pressures upon these protected and internationally recognised habitats and allowing them to thrive.

The wider Avon Heath Country Park will continue to be owned and operated by Dorset Council, providing the same popular facilities, open spaces and events that it does currently.

The proposals to create a SANG and greatly improve Avon Heath Country Park will also provide a range of other important benefits:

  • Improve local air quality along the A31 corridor through new landscaping.
  • Create new habitat features through the introduction of indigenous planting species.
  • Contribute towards the health and wellbeing of the local population through the provision of new green space, accessible on foot and by cycle via the existing footbridge over the A31.
  • Complement the existing offer at Moors Valley in providing attractions for different age groups.
  • Deliver education through information and active learning.

W H White has the means and experience to fast-track delivery of this exciting vision for Dorset’s leisure and tourist economy. The project will deliver many social, economic and environmental benefits and could be an integral pillar of Dorset’s strong economic recovery from the Covid 19 pandemic.

W H White have been in detailed discussions regarding the proposals including engagement with Natural England, Surf England, Highways England and Dorset Council. Ecological surveys were also completed on the site last year.

A planning application is due to be submitted to Dorset Council and W. H. White would welcome your comments on the proposals as matters develop.

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W. H. White is seeking comments from the local community so that the proposals can positively evolve before a planning application is submitted to Dorset Council. Residents can provide feedback by:

  • Completing the feedback form below
  • Contacting the team on 0800 080 3177 and by email at brockspine@devcomms.co.uk.
  • Attending a public exhibition will also be held at St Leonards & St Ives Village Hall on Braeside Road on Thursday 9 September from 2pm to 8pm.

Your comments will be considered and may be shared with the relevant local planning authority. Details of the consultation may be shared publicly, but no personal information will be included in publicised results.
DevComms is a registered Data Controller under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). DevComms will process any personal data lawfully in line with the principle of Legitimate Interests as defined in GDPR. If you need any further information, please contact us on 01296 678320, or by email at info@devcomms.co.uk.
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  I have read and agree to the above statement.

W. H. White is seeking comments from the local community so that the proposals can positively evolve before a planning application is submitted to Dorset Council. Residents can provide feedback by:

  • Complete a feedback form.
  • A public exhibition will also be held at St Leonards & St Ives Village Hall on Braeside Road on Thursday 9 September from 2pm to 8pm.

If you have any queries, please contact the team on 0800 080 3177 and by email at brockspine@devcomms.co.uk