I FELT I should write as I have become more and more frustrated and saddened by the misunderstanding of many of the residents of Hemingford Grey with regard to my family’s planning application for the installation of a wakeboard cable, changing rooms and the retention of a car park at our lake in Long Lane, Hemingford Grey.
My family have been lucky enough to water ski on this beautiful lake for over 30 years, firstly by kind invitation of the previous owners and in recent years as owners. My boyfriend, brother and I are very passionate about waterskiing and wakeboarding and were thrilled when my father – David Hopkins – agreed that he would help us turn our passion into a business enabling us to share the pleasure with others by teaching all ages and abilities.
We have visited many wakeboarding and water ski parks and now have clear ideas about the facilities we need for this new venture.
I want to reassure the residents of Hemingford Grey, and in particular our close neighbours in Marsh Lane and Long Lane, that this will not be a noisy, extensive leisure centre and on a vastly different scale to my family’s business at Pidley, Lakeside Lodge Golf Centre. My family have the utmost regard for the environmental well being of the residents of Hemingford Grey.
The cable will only tow one wakeboarder at a time and only four boarders per hour. Boarders will possibly have friends and family watching but there will certainly not be “hoards of watersport enthusiasts or hundreds of noisy wake boarders” as Mr J Edgely fears (Letters, Hunts Post, September 4). The cable will be run by an extremely quiet electric motor (55 decibels at 10ft from the motor).
As part of the planning application process we have had a noise assessment test carried during water skiing at the lake by Anglia Consultants. They concluded: “The noise impact was assessed against WHO Guidelines for Environmental Noise, BS8233 and BS4142 and none of the assessments resulted in significant impact... It is concluded therefore that noise from water skiing is not likely to cause justifiable disturbance to the occupiers of the nearest properties”.
Full details of the assessment are available from me if anyone wants to see these.
The cable stanchions (there will be two) will be hidden behind the trees and are 6m high, which is similar in height to standard wooden electric telegraph poles. One stanchion and motor will be positioned 230m and the second one at 100m from the nearest dwelling. There are numerous telegraph poles similar in height around all residential areas in Hemingford Grey.
The increased traffic flow to and from Hemingford Grey will be minimal due to the capacity of the wakeboard cable and the majority of users will come direct from the A14 and not through the village.
The most appealing aspect of our beautiful lake at Long Lane is its natural beauty with densely wooded areas and varied wildlife and it is our intention to preserve and indeed expand and enhance the flora, fauna and wildlife on the site. There is a beautiful walk around the lake, used on a daily basis, and we have already planted over 2,000 native hedging plants … this will be our on-going plan.
My family regard the continuous planting of woodland to be paramount. As part of the planning application, an ecological assessment was carried out by Skilled Ecology Consultancy Limited and the company summarised as follows: “It was considered that this proposed development of the site was unlikely to significantly impact negatively on locally important biodiversity or the ecological functionality of the site”.
I urge the neighbours of Long Lane and Marsh Lane to please get a better understanding of the nature of our wakeboarding business (perhaps by visiting/researching other wakeboard and water ski centres) and to please be reassured that we will not be disturbing the peace of the beautiful village of Hemingford Grey.