Monday 15 July 2024
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Plans for kayaking on a Nottinghamshire lake blocked by council

Controversial plans for kayaking on a ‘tranquil’ Nottinghamshire lake have been blocked by the local parish council.

The proposal was for Balderton Lake, near Newark, to be used for watersports.

The YMCA and Balderton Parish Council revealed plans last year to build a launch dock for boats at the lake, to be used as part of the YMCA Community and Activity Village site.

But Balderton Parish Council has now blocked the plans.

Todd Cauthorn, Executive Director at YMCA Newark and Sherwood, said the move will “deprive young people of these wonderful experiences”.

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The YCMA had a license but had not yet submitted plans for the docking station to launch the kayaks.

At a meeting on July 27, councillors voted in favour of terminating the YMCA’s licence to use Balderton Lake for kayaking and canoeing activities.

The decision will be effective after a 12-month notice period.

A campaign group called Save Wildlife and Nature (SWAN) says Balderton Lake should be safeguarded as a “sanctuary for wildlife”.

Almost 4,000 people had signed a petition opposing the plans.

One member of SWAN previously said that the plans for kayaking and canoeing on the lake would amount to a ‘mini Center Parcs’.

Youth charity the YMCA says it hoped small groups of young people will use a small area of the lake for select times of the year only.

Karen Callingham from SWAN said: “We want to extend a huge thank you to everyone who signed the campaign petition, attended meetings and events, displayed posters and flyers, and helped spread the word far and wide. Without your unwavering support, we would not have been able to achieve this significant milestone in preserving the lake.”

Campaigner Jean Hall added: “We’re keen to work with the YMCA to help them Identify and support existing local water-sport facilities, ensuring the enrichment of the district’s offerings in sites that are purpose-built and safer while also bolstering local businesses. We are here to support them.”

Cllr Johno Lee (Con), who represents Balderton North and Coddington at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “I’ve stayed impartial as I sit on the planning committee.

“However, I’ve always stated that the final decision should always be with the parish council.

“There was an email I sent in 2007 to Newark and Sherwood District Council saying I had major concerns about the usage as there hadn’t been any safety.

“That was one of the underlying concerns that I had about whether it was safe.

“I’ve had concerns for and against this from the very beginning.

“For me, there was never enough information either way.

“I’ve written to the parish council to clarify their position and is there a chance it could have a financial liability on the Balderton taxpayer.”

Todd Cauthorn, Executive Director at YMCA Newark and Sherwood, said: “We are disappointed that all plans for the Balderton Lake project have now been revoked, despite our rigorous efforts in conducting surveys and consultations with experts.

“Our commitment to the community was to provide young people with opportunities to experience the natural beauty of the lake, whilst getting active and building skills through activities such as kayaking. As a result, we will no longer be able to proceed with this vision.

“Significant time and resources were invested to ensure the highest standards of conservation, wildlife protection, and safety were in place for this project. We respect the decision of Balderton Parish Council, however it is disheartening that these plans will not come to fruition, depriving young people of these wonderful experiences.”

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