Campaigner's relief as surf lake plan for Avon Gorge is revised
A CAMPAIGNER has expressed his relief that developers planning a £5 million surfing lake in the Avon Gorge on land next to the Portway are to look elsewhere.
However David Wedge has wished Nick Hounsfield and Tobin Coles, who came up with the concept of Wavegarden UK, all the best in finding an appropriate site.
Mr Hounsfield and Mr Coles had wanted to use technology developed by a Spanish company to create Wavegarden UK at the 13-acre Bristol and West sports ground along the Portway near Sea Mills.
But David Wedge, who is not against the project, argued the particular site was inappropriate as it is home to rare plants and plays an important role in sustaining the ecosystems that surround it in adjoining Bishops Knoll woods.
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In addition he said the ancient woodland, managed by the Woodland Trust, is a site of local nature conservation importance and has tree preservation orders on some of the many trees across the site.
Last month Mr Hounsfield and Mr Coles announced they were looking for a new home for the project as the Wavegarden UK concept had increased in size.
They say discussions are taking place with landowners on two alternative sites, but the Bristol Wave team has not revealed where the sites are.
Friends of Avon Gorge member Mr Wedge said: "It has been clear for some time that a much larger site than the Avon Gorge location would be required to support the scale needed by a business of that kind. I'm pleased that has been recognised and I wish them well.
"The Avon Gorge, remarkably given its proximity to one of England's largest cities, remains a truly wild place.
"I for one value that greatly, and its designations suggest that the bodies with more knowledge and clout agree.
"The Avon Gorge and Valley are at the centre of a complex of highly protected landscapes and wildlife habitats.
"This is incompatible with making it into a business development zone.
"There is a lot of land in the city which would greatly benefit from the regeneration offered by capital investment of this kind. For example the sad closure of the runway at Filton came as a blow to the city – it's commerce, prestige and sense of self. However, times change and on the positive side, such things do mean a great deal of suitable space is available for new business ventures.
"Let's hope for great new things in the city in 2013 whilst offering safe stewardship to the best of what has come down to us from the past like the beauty and wildness of the Avon Gorge."