SEPTEMBER 2022 UPDATE – TRANSPORT AND ECONOMIC IMPACT

In November 2021, W H White submitted a planning application to deliver significant social, environmental and economic improvements to Avon Heath Country Park and a world-class once in a lifetime surf and leisure destination at Brocks Pine in St Leonards, Dorset.

The application submission followed public engagement which showed most respondents supported the proposals. Of the 500 people to provide feedback, 318 (62%) supported the opportunity for an inland surfing lagoon at Brocks Pine. Even more residents (66%) supported the planned improvements to Avon Heath Country Park and significant new greenspace in order to preserve and protect the Dorset Heaths.

Since the submission of the planning application, this support has continued with over 460 representations submitted in support of the proposals.

During the time since November 2021, W H White has been working with Dorset Council officers and Statutory Consultees to answer queries that have been raised and several amended technical reports have been submitted to Dorset Council.

These reports provide additional information in relation to transport and the economy and confirm that these matters can be satisfactorily and positively resolved in planning terms.

Transport Matters

We are aware that residents have questioned how the Brocks Pine proposals will impact local roads, especially the A31 Ringwood Road. Following the submission of additional information, we are delighted to be able to provide further clarification.

We have been liaising with National Highways to assess the impact on the A31 Ringwood Road using agreed industry standard transport modelling. The modelling looks at the peak am and pm transport hours on the A31 Ringwood Road (8am to 9am and 5pm to 6pm) as this is the busiest time on the road and therefore presents a “worst-case scenario”.

The transport modelling takes existing traffic data and adds forecast traffic from Brocks Pine, which is based on vehicle movements to The Wave in Bristol during August 2021 (The Wave’s peak month and when Covid-19 restrictions had been significantly relaxed). The modelling shows that:

  • The A31 Woolsbridge Roundabout currently receives 8,076 vehicles between 8am and 9am. The forecast trips visiting the Brocks Pine proposal, based on the peak seasonal period, would add just 137 movements during this one hour peak period, which is an addition of just 1.69%.
  • In the evening peak hour, between 5pm and 6pm, the A31 Woolsbridge Roundabout currently receives 8,478 vehicles. The forecast trips visiting Brocks Pine during the peak evening hour (again based on the peak seasonal period) would add just 160 movements, which is an addition of just 1.88%.

We appreciate that transport models are quite technical in nature and we therefore wanted to share a video animation of the vehicle movements at the A31 Woolsbridge Roundabout during the peak morning hour.

This shows a simulation of existing vehicles in blue and the visibly few new vehicles generated by the Brocks Pine development in pink. The video can be seen below.

The transport modelling has led to the conclusion that the Brocks Pine development would only impact existing journey times by seconds rather than minutes. This level of change is considered marginal and would not trigger the planning policy threshold of 'severe' in terms of operational capacity and therefore the application is suitable in highways terms.

 

Economic impact

As part of the additional information submitted to the Council, accredited experts have looked in detail at the economic impact of the proposals on the local area. The Assessment uses data compiled from studies of two similar facilities, including Surf Snowdonia, which opened recently.

The Assessment shows that the ongoing operation of the proposed surf lagoon and improved Avon Heath Country Park will generate significant economic benefits each and every year of its operation:

  • Ongoing employment of 115 Full-Time Equivalent jobs for local people in the key leisure and tourism sector
  • Annual wages of £1.6 million which will largely be spent within the local area
  • A significant economic output of £5m into the local economy every year
  • As part of a trip to Brocks Pine, it is estimated visitors would each spend an average of £30 in the surrounding area and this would equate to an annual increase in local expenditure of £3.8m per year.

The review also shows that, as well as having a hugely significant economic impact when open, the construction of Brocks Pine will generate a one-time economic boost to the local economy of significant scale, including:

  • 124 person-years of employment, which is the equivalent of 124 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) jobs for one year.
  • £3.9 million in wages.
  • £9.5 million leading to significant growth in the local construction sector.

This significant level economic benefit has been recognised by the Council’s Growth & Economic Regeneration department, who when commenting on the planning application said:

“It is exactly the kind of outdoor sport and recreation facility that Dorset would benefit from to encourage visitors and potential residents to visit and live here, and would offer the same benefits to existing residents. It may also play a role in improving Dorset’s image as a place with little for younger working-age people, and play a part in mitigating Dorset’s long-term demographic trend of a shrinking working-age population.”

W H White delighted to announce that a planning application for the Brocks Pine proposals have been submitted to Dorset Council.

The Brocks Pine proposals are for a world-class surf and leisure destination alongside significant improvements to Avon Heath Country Park at land south east of A31 Ringwood Road, either side of Brocks Pine in St Leonards, Dorset.

The submission of the planning application comes following a widespread and comprehensive public consultation undertaken during August and September 2021. The consultation was well received and resulted in high levels of engagement, demonstrating overall support for the proposals.

Of the 512 local people that responded to the public consultation, 62% support the once-in-a-generation opportunity for a world-class inland surfing lagoon at Brocks Pine and 66% support the planned improvements to Avon Heath Country Park and significant new greenspace in order to preserve and protect the Dorset Heaths.

The proposed surf lagoon is a once in a generation opportunity for Dorset to cement its reputation as a surf destination. Surfing England, the National Governing Body for surfing are supportive of the opportunity to put Dorset on the world’s surfing map and ensure the physical and mental health benefits of surfing can be enjoyed all year round in the south coast.

Ben Powis, CEO of Surfing England, said:

“We are seeing an explosion of interest in surf lagoons and it’s amazing to see the UK taking a real lead in investment and deployment of this incredible new technology.  The South Coast has a vibrant surf scene and having world class waves on tap will help grow the local surfing community, provide training space for future Olympic and Paralympic athletes and open up surfing as a sport and lifestyle to a whole new audience.”

Our exciting vision for Brocks Pine would bring investment and job creation supporting key local economic sectors most impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Over 60% of respondents to the consultation recognised the importance of this planned investment for the local tourism and hospitality sector. Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the group responsible for driving the economic growth of Dorset, have also confirmed support for the proposals. 

The proposed surf lagoon is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Dorset to cement its reputation as a surf destination which is supported by Surfing England owing to the physical and mental health benefits of surfing that could be enjoyed all year round in the south coast.

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.

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.

Anyone with an interest in the proposals is able to share their views with Dorset Council, so it could also be beneficial to let your friends and family know.  

The easiest way to submit your comments is by emailing the case officer and the steps to follow are set out below:

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.

surf england

 

 

 

 

 

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.
You can choose to stop receiving updates from us at any time by contacting us on opt-out@devcomms.co.uk or calling us on 01296 678320.


  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