Chasewater – as I have noted here and on my 365daysofbiking journal – is reawakening now. Refilled in double-quick time by nature, and returning back to rude health, it’s almost as if the whole Dam Works shebang was a distant memory.
Of course, the scars linger; the ecology is still massively depressed, and apart from a few laser-class craft, few watersports or sailing types have yet returned to the place they once called home, which I find a bit sad.
It has been becoming gradually clearer and clearer that Staffordshire County Council won’t be wasting opportunities with Chasewater. Called in to rescue Lichfield District Council from abject technical and financial disaster on the dam project, it’s understandable that now, as they gradually take control, that they want to see a return and maximum use of the the reservoir and country park.
With that in our minds, it’s come to my attention that an application has recently been submitted to Lichfield District Council to construct a wakeboarding corse based between a refurbished pier and dam.
The application bears the number 13/00145/FUL, and can be accessed online from Lichfield District Council’s planning service, which is still streets ahead of Walsall’s. If anyone from Walsall Council is reading this, that’s how it’s done, folks.
The application is described as ‘Installation and operation of a straight line cable tow wakeboarding facility and associated works’ and is being made by Wakelake Limited, of Burton on Trent.
Video supplied with planning application of wakeboard equipment in use.
All links are direct to the documents held on Lichfield District Council’s servers.
- Application Forms
- Design and Access Statement
- Additional Information
- Chasewater Ecology Report
- Existing and Proposed Location Plans
I’ve known about the scheme for a few weeks now, and have received several outraged emails about it. I present the information here to allow folks to make up their own minds, and I will cover here, and welcome all shades of opinion, as ever.
Here’s just one communication from an anonymous reader:
Like yourself I have a great passion and respect for Chasewater but I am afraid that as Staffs Have spent the money on the dam they now have no respect for the park, wildlife or ecology they just want to turn it into a profit could this be the new Disney world Brownhills?
They are currently in talks with and planning a commercial venture with a limited company to set up an automatic ski and wake board track that will run 7 days a week from march to October and this has no connection with the existing Ski Club. I have attached some plans and details of what will go before the planning committee this month and is being fully supported by Staffordshire County Council I have a lot more info if this is of interest.
However, I have to say, I’m finding it hard to be surprised or indignant about this: on the whole, I think it’s a good idea. I’m finding it quite difficult to see why this would be as destructive as claimed above, frankly.
Chasewater was only really saved from an inglorious decline by being a centre for watersports, and here it has an illustrious history. For most of it’s recent life, the lake and it’s ecology have co-existed with water-skiers, windsurfers and sailors. I think we need to accept that whilst we all love the peaceful wildlife haven, it’s also a place of valuable public recreation. It seems right and sensible to expand the facilities to attract punters back.
The scheme itself would breathe life into the decaying pier, a long-term symbol of the park’s lost past, and is planned for an already publicly disturbed corner of the water, frequented as it is by walkers and cyclists leaving the canal and dam area.
I realise this view won’t be popular, but I think we all have to accept that no one group has sole right to the water or park and we have to share, and in straightened times, anything that pulls folk into Chasewater is a good thing.
I welcome comments or further mail on the subject. What do you think? Comment here, or BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.
We live in interesting times.