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Blue Lake in Upper Halling could be turned into £13.3 million watersports centre

A former cement quarry could be transformed into a £13.3 million tourist attraction.

The Blue Lake in Upper Halling, near Rochester, may become home to a larger watersports facility and holiday centre.

The lake, off the A228 at the base of the North Downs, is next to a development of 385 homes belonging to house builders Redrow.

It currently hosts activities including open water swimming, sailing, diving, fishing, and a Forest School, where children learn outdoor skills.

It is run in conjunction with the Gillingham Football Club School and would be retained under the plans.

The lake has also been used as a private training area for the Metropolitan Police.

Under the proposals, the lake would be opened up to include 20 lakeside holiday lets and 12 "eco pods" with their own mooring points, each of which would accommodate two to four people.

An impression of what the holiday accommodation could look like. Picture: St Andrews Leisure Development Ltd
An impression of what the holiday accommodation could look like. Picture: St Andrews Leisure Development Ltd

Developer St Andrew's Park Ltd wants to expand the site's remit to include rowing, canoeing and paddle-boarding within the lake which reaches depths of more than 30 metres.

Around the lake, there would be a 2.5km walking path, 411 car parking spaces, a nature reserve and "urban beach".

There would also be two zip wires spanning the 70-acre lake and a three-storey water sports centre consisting of a cafe, meeting and members’ rooms.

The application has already attracted more than 100 comments on Medway Council’s online planning portal.

One, from Nigels Rees from Cuxton, described the proposal as "an excellent beneficial use for a post industrial site which should be encouraged as providing both social and economic benefits to the area."

Stephen Barlow commented: “Whilst I broadly encourage recreational development of the lake, absolutely no access to the proposed facilities should be allowed through any part of the St Andrew’s Park residential development.

“This planning development proposal also raises serious concerns over increased traffic and noise levels for residents of St Andrew’s Park.”

Plans for the development were first put forward in 2017 when former Medway councillor Andrew Mackness – one of the directors of the project – dubbed it a "jewel in the crown" for Medway.

Medway Council's planning committee is due to consider the plans by Wednesday, January 22.

Earlier this year, police were called to the area following reports of anti-social behaviour which prompted those who run activities within the lake to shut down public access to them.

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