Call for massive leisure park in Hengrove

Published on: 29 Jul 2016

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A PETITION is calling on the council to back an ambitious plan for a Center Parcs-style leisure park in South Bristol.

Led by a Christian charity, the Joshua Trust, the petition calls for part of a development zone in Hengrove Park to be earmarked for a major leisure centre with two domes – a cold zone for skiing and snowboarding and a hot zone with an indoor beach.

The trust said: “This project will bring many jobs to South Bristol and provide unique facilities which will be affordable for local communities and schools to enjoy. It is time that South Bristol enjoyed greater prosperity.”

Spokesperson Anne White said the site is large enough to accommodate many homes, local shops, facilities, cafes, a public park and rugby club as well as a major leisure facility.

The petition calls on the mayor, Marvin Rees, to set aside land for the project. It has almost 2,700 names – not far short of the 3,500 which would trigger a debate on the issue at a full council meeting.

Ms White said a study by engineers Atkins had proved the idea was feasible. 

She said she has a backer ready and able to finance the scheme. She wants to hold a meeting with council officials to discuss the plan but has so far been unable to get an appointment. 

Hengrove Park has seen major developments in the last decade. It has a leisure centre with a 50m pool, a community hospital, and the Skills Academy. The next phase is the building of 1,000 homes plus a public park. So far, the domes have not won council backing. A spokesperson said: “There are already plans in place for this site which will be subject to the usual planning permission considerations.”

In March the council selected Kier Homes as its partner to plan up to 260 homes there, about a third of them affordable.

Knowle councillor and Lib Dem leader Gary Hopkins said  the leisure dome idea “looks exciting” but faced obstacles.

“It would require at least £100m to build and for the 15 years or so that it has been proposed, no financial backing has been secured,” he said.

The site earmarked is of special scientific interest, which would make it very difficult to get planning permission, he said. 

“It would be interesting to see if we could progress the idea at a more suitable site,” he added.

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