Residents oppose plans for Hemingford boating lake caravan site

09:00 04 October 2012

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RESIDENTS of Hemingford Grey are set to oppose a planning application that could give the village an additional camping and caravanning site, as well as an electrically-driven ‘zip-wire’ for water-skiers.

The owners of Lakeside Lodge at Pidley have bought the 17-hectare informal water ski lake off Long Lane, Hemingford Grey, and have applied for a change of use of the land to form a camping and caravan area with a new boathouse and two holiday chalets, as well as the zip-wire.

St Ives-based planning consultants Partners in Planning (PiP) say the caravanning and camping area will provide pitches for around 30 caravans and 15 tents with the new boat house providing facilities such as showers.

Applicant David Hopkins said the project would create five jobs locally, and he had already had interest from disabled groups and sea scouts.

All year round use is proposed, though the site is likely to be less busy in winter, PiP has told Huntingdonshire District Council planners.

The proposed zip-wire, fixed to an electric motor on the bank, would effectively remove the need for a power boat. “This reduces the impact upon surrounding amenity as it is much quieter and reduces the disturbance to natural habitats.”

But Hemingford pressure group One Vocal Group, which has also campaigned against a wind turbine and extensive LPG storage at nearby Galley Hill Farm, says villagers are unhappy.

Spokesman Esther Harrod told The Hunts Post: “Basically, residents are concerned about the impact of noise from the proposed water activities and campsite and the effect on the wildlife on the private lake.

“There are concerns regarding extra traffic through the village and, if the proposal goes through, how far the site will be expanded in terms of leisure use.

“Lakeside Lodge in Pidley do what they do very well, and we are all concerned there might be some sort of mirror image of that business here, but on and around the Hemingford Grey lake, in the future,” she added.

“I believe there are wakeboarding and water skiing facilities at the lake in St Ives, so it’s not as though there aren’t other opportunities to enjoy this kind of sport. We are not killjoys: we just don’t think this sort of application is suitable for a village like Hemingford Grey.

“I don’t understand why we keep having to fight off things like a huge chicken farm, a wind turbine with volumes of LPG by the A14 and now this.

“Why do people keep wanting to come to this village and try and spoil it?”

PiP’s David Mead said the Hemingford lake was less than half the size of the sailing club lake in St Ives.

Hemingford Grey Parish Council clerk Lesley Caie said the council had received a copy of the application only last Friday and would consider it at its meeting next Monday.

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