Planning bid for water skiing at Hemingford lake

HEADQUARTERS: Huntingdonshire District Council's Pathfinder House

HEADQUARTERS: Huntingdonshire District Council's Pathfinder House - Credit: Archant

Operators of a water sports centre at Hemingford Grey have launched a bid to hold water skiing at their lake as part of a bid to diversify its operation.

Liquid Skillz won permission to use Lake Ashmore, a former gravel pit off Gore Tree Road, on appeal after it was rejected following complaints about noise from residents.

Now Liquid Skillz, which operates wakeboarding, has put in plans to Huntingdonshire District Council which would bring in other activities like open water swimming and paddlebording and enable the wakeboarding machinery to pull small inflatables containing four people instead of one person at a time.

Documents submitted with the application said: “The proposal seeks to utilise the lake for water-skiing. By virtue of the existing wakeboard line,

it would be prohibited from the western shore, with the activity focused mainly within the central spine of the lake.

“During hours of operation water skiing lessons will last approximately 20 minutes. There would be up to 20 lessons per day.”

The firm’s application also involves the construction of a slipway, extended perimeter track, boat hut and a jetty. It would also regularise the use of a cafe.

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Bids to develop the lake - where the site owners may carry out private water skiing - go back to 2012 when an unsuccessful application was submitted to have camping, caravanning, holiday chalets and a zip wire there. Use of the lake for wakeboarding was granted on appeal in 2016.

People living near the lake had raised concerns over potential noise from the lake.

A noise impact statement carried out for the operators said there would be extra noise at the two nearest locations, but would be below limits, adding: “Expected levels from the expanded Lake Ashmore operations would be clearly well within this limit and would represent an insignificant level of noise impact.”

A design and access statement said enhanced use of the lake would help boost tourism.

It added: “The assessment considered reasonably that the principle source of noise which would be created by the proposed development would relate to the use of the water skiing boat.

“Paddle boarding and open water swimming are quiet and/or solitary activities and the noise generated by these activities would be minimal. Therefore, these aspects have not been considered further.”

The site is close to the route of the former A14 where traffic levels have reduced since the upgraded road opened.