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Restaurant and watersports centre planned for reservoir in Nottinghamshire

An 80-seat restaurant and watersports centre could be built at King’s Mill Reservoir on land previously used by the historic Sutton-in-Ashfield Sailing Club.

The club closed for good earlier this year after a longstanding battle with Ashfield District Council over rent fees.

It had been using the reservoir and a ‘starter building’ on the land since 1959.

But its closure marked the end of a period providing sailing to hundreds of families and sailors for more than six decades.

Now the council has unveiled a full planning application for a new two-storey building featuring a new restaurant overlooking the scenic reservoir site.

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An artists impression of the new 80 seat restaurant and watersports facility at Kings Mill Reservoir. Image Ashfield District Council

It will couple with a planned watersports centre on the ground floor and sits next to Nottinghamshire County Council’s Mill Adventure Zone outdoor facilities.

New papers submitted by the council to its own planning department reveal the 80-seat restaurant will feature a kitchen, a bar area, indoor and outdoor seating and toilets.

The sailing and watersports club, based on the ground floor, will include changing rooms, a boat yard, storage, a training and meeting room and other facilities for outdoor activities.

This facility will include activities like sailing, paddleboarding, kayaking and open-water swimming.

Papers reveal the building has been designed “based upon a traditional boathouse overlooking the reservoir”.

They say this reflects the “history of the site and the presence of a boathouse as shown on the historic maps”.

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It will be built using stone masonry walls on the ground floor and timber cladding on the upper floor.

The roof will also include panels to generate electricity and reduce carbon emissions.

The existing ‘starter box’ building, previously used by the old sailing club to start races, is not “deemed fit to remain in its current condition” and will be demolished.

This will be replaced by a new building facing the water for “surveillance” of the water and will include storage space for the different types of clubs operating on the land.

The papers said: “The project is to provide a new flagship leisure building to replace the existing sailing club on the site.

“The new building will accommodate opportunities for a night-time economy, leisure, events, meeting and commercial space alongside growth in water sports and recreational activities.

“The proposed building is a two-storey leisure building with watersports facilities on the ground floor and a restaurant on the upper floor.”

They added: “The addition of this building will provide a facility which encourages the health and wellbeing of local residents, through encouraging engagement with sports and reconnecting with nature.

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“The restaurant will also provide a key attraction to the site, encouraging more visitor numbers and increasing the hospitality offering within the district.”

Ashfield District Council is the landowner and the applicant for the plans, and its planning committee will discuss the development at a later date.

It comes as part of the wider Towns Fund investment into Ashfield, with the authority receiving £62.6m to spend on various projects across Sutton and Kirkby.

Speaking last month, Councillor Matt Relf (Ash Ind), the council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said: “The plans for Kings Mill Reservoir are extremely exciting.

“We can’t wait to be able to open up the offer of a variety of great new activities to visitors. The location of the new restaurant offering will be a fantastic addition to the reservoir and will bring in even more visitors to Ashfield.

“We want to hear from existing or new clubs, and/or individuals, who are keen to get involved in developing and running water sports activities at the reservoir.”

The new boathouse building is due to be completed during the summer of 2024, depending on the approval of planning permission.

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