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Developers share vision for £13.3m tourist attraction at Blue Lake in Upper Halling

Developers have been sharing their vision on a potential new tourist attraction.

The Blue Lake in Upper Halling, near Rochester, may become home to a £13.3 million watersports facility and holiday centre under plans put forward by developers.

WATCH: Residents and businesses in Upper Halling react to the proposal

The former cement quarry lays is located next to a development of almost 400 homes, St Andrews Park.

Whilst it currently hosts activities including swimming, sailing, diving, fishing, and a Forest School, developers are looking to open the site up to other pursuits including rowing, canoeing and paddle-boarding.

There would be also be two zip wires across the 70-acre lake, a walking path, 411 car parking spaces, a nature reserve and an "urban beach".

The lake at the base of the North Downs is known for its striking blue colour which is most likely due to limestone.

St Andrews Lakes, Upper Halling.
St Andrews Lakes, Upper Halling.

Andrew Mackness, director of St Andrew's Leisure Development, said: "We have worked really hard with our consultant team to develop an ecology and landscape led scheme that maximises the leisure and tourism potential of this site while responding to the specific landscape setting and specific ecological context of the site.

Andrew Mackness, director of St Andrew's Leisure Development.
Andrew Mackness, director of St Andrew's Leisure Development.

"Our brief to the architects was to develop a bespoke scheme that responds to this site context and to provide high-quality architecture that delivers a flagship watersports, leisure and tourism facility.

"It is essential that we make the most of this exciting and unique development opportunity for Medway and the region, while not compromising the ecological value of the site.

"Wherever possible we have sought to introduce measures and features that will maintain and indeed enhance the ecological interest of the site and provide opportunities for visitors to see and learn about the site.

"As an example, we propose to construct a sand martin nesting feature with hides for visitors to watch the birds over the water.

"The development has drawn inspiration from many lake developments across the UK and indeed further afield, but we have looked to make this scheme unique with a leisure offer not found elsewhere in the south east.

What the development could look like. Picture: St Andrews Leisure Development Ltd (22668604)
What the development could look like. Picture: St Andrews Leisure Development Ltd (22668604)

"Existing watersport activities and education will be complemented and enhanced with a travel plan developed to encourage users to make use of the excellent local public transport facilities. We are proposing plenty of parking to meet the needs of day to day visitors as well as any events that may take place, such as regattas or open water swimming events.

"St Andrew's Lakes will deliver considerable economic benefits and employment opportunities and importantly provide much-needed high quality leisure and tourist accommodation to those visiting Medway."

Ward councillor Matt Fern said: "I have been round to all the residents to notify them of the planning application coming out.

"There are a few worries in terms of the access; where the lakes is, it goes past 20 houses so obviously it's going to impact with them a bit.

"It's a little bit concerning over that and over the environmental impact.

Cllr Matt Fern.(22850741)
Cllr Matt Fern.(22850741)

"Potentially, a lot of people are quite excited about the proposal."

Declan Dooley from Newtown Social Club, Formby Road, Halling, said: "Hopefully it will bring more trade, obviously we don't know what the outcome is going to be.

"Hopefully it will bring trade to the village and they will come and spend some money over here.

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

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