The controversial overhead-cable wake-boarding scheme – which the former Labour administration in the Vale of Glamorgan Council wanted to install at Cosmeston Country Park – has today been “called-in” to be debated by the full planning committee of the newly-elected Conservative Vale Council.
Until this morning the planning application for the scheme was – as reported by PDN earlier today – set to be decided only by a staff planning officer of the Vale Council, on a so-called “delegated” basis – rather than being debated in a full meeting of the planning committee.
However this morning Cllr Kevin Mahoney (Independent Sully) acted to ensure the scheme will now be discussed by the full planning committee of the newly elected Vale of Glamorgan Council by “calling in” the scheme .
The full Vale Planning Committee has yet to meet following the May 4th elections and no agenda for the first meeting of the new planning committee has yet been published.
On December 14th last year the controversial wakeboarding scheme was being pushed as a commercial venture by Cllr Lis Burnett (Labour Stanwell), the former Deputy Leader of the Labour administration – despite a 10,000-signature petition being presented by local people who want Cosmeston Country Park left as it is . [See http://tinyurl.com/y7ym57j2 ]
Many thought that, as Labour has lost control of the Vale Council, the scheme would be dropped by the incoming Conservative-led administration – but evidently the Vale Council’s planning department had received an application from a potential commercial franchisee to set up a “new wakeboarding sporting facility at Cosmeston Lakes Country Park” and its staff officers had been all set to decide for themselves whether or not to approve the plan – without any reference to the full Vale Planning Committee.
The scheme includes the “New installation of electric cable wakeboarding system equipment and a mechanical store, new installation of male changing facilities and the Wake Park Reception; conversion of park’s store room to house a female changing area at Cosmeston visitor centre.”
Two steel pylons would be erected at each end of the wakeboard run (marked red on the map above) connected by an endless loop of cable .
The endless cable would have a rope and handle attached to it which wakeboarders would hold on to, so as to be drawn along the surface of the water at planing speeds. Various floating jump-ramps and features will be anchored in the water .
The wakeboarding site – on the Western side of Cosmeston’s Eastern lake – is confirmed as being within the Cosmeston Lakes Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the Local Nature Reserve (LNR).
However – the consultants say – given the small scale and scope of the proposed development, those habitats and species present or potentially present within and around the site are not considered to pose ‘in principle’ constraints to the proposals.
The consultants say that whilst the wakeboarding system would be “partially located within a statutorily protected site” , its ” qualifying features could be sufficiently protected from any adverse impacts arising from the proposed development through the implementation of appropriate avoidance and mitigation measures during the construction and operational phases.”
The application report says Cosmeston Lakes Country Park is home to “numerous waterfowl” [ i.e. swans and ducks] and woodland species including kingfishers, barn owls, fieldfare, redwing and firecrest .
The report also notes that the “lakes and associated habitats are also recognised for their importance to a wintering bird assemblage- and because of that “precautionary working measures and sensitive clearance” would be required during construction,
What would be known as “The Cosmeston Wake Park” will require:-
- The installation of two cable system pylons on the southern and northern banks of the Eastern lake, secured in position using ground level anchor points
- Installation of a pontoon at the start position, secured to the bank and lake bed
using wooden posts
- Installation of floating park features to be tethered in position with anchors lines to
anchor that site on the lake floor
- Installation of a 6 square metre shipping container behind the southern pylon to house the power supply and controlling equipment for the wakeboarding cable system
- Siting of reception and changing areas within existing areas of hardstanding
adjacent to the Cosmeston Lakes Visitor Centre
The “Wake Park” would operate “from late March to end of October” and ” during daylight hours only”.
The application says “There is no reason, in ecological terms why detailed planning permission should be refused. The scheme is therefore commended to Vale of Glamorgan County Council as an ecologically sensitive response to the implementation of new recreational facilities within Cosmeston Lakes SSSI/LNR/Country Park.”