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Lake and ropes course plans for Easton Farm Park refused

PUBLISHED: 16:30 27 October 2020 | UPDATED: 16:58 27 October 2020

Fiona Siddall at Easton Farm Park said the low ropes course would be a perfect fit with the park's existing activities.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Fiona Siddall at Easton Farm Park said the low ropes course would be a perfect fit with the park's existing activities. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Plans for a lake and ropes course at one of East Suffolk’s tourism hotspots has been unanimously rejected because there were not enough details.

Easton Farm Park has hosted events such as Maverick Music Festival and young farmers shows in previous years as well as its own activities. Picture : SEANA HUGHESEaston Farm Park has hosted events such as Maverick Music Festival and young farmers shows in previous years as well as its own activities. Picture : SEANA HUGHES

Easton Farm Park lodged plans for a two-metre deep lake to construct a low ropes course on – an assault course style adventure activity on elevated platforms over water – as well as a nearby reception building and changing facilities on a vacant field at the park normally used for demonstrations.

But East Suffolk Council’s planning south committee on Tuesday afternoon was forced to unanimously reject the application because there were no plans on what the course would look like, or how high it would be.

MORE: Visitors welcomed back to Easton Farm Park after coronavirus delays

Councillors said that while the principal was clearly one they would support, the lack of detail meant it could not be passed because there would be no mechanism in which to enforce the plans or judge its impact on the nearby historic buildings or the landscape.

Councillor Debbie McCallum, who chairs the committee, said it was with a heavy heart the proposals were rejected, and added: “This application we would normally support but we don’t really know what we are supporting because it could be totally different to what is being shown, and we would have no control over that.”

East Suffolk councillor Tony Cooper said that while he supported the principal of the lake, there was not enough detail to be able to grant planning permission. Picture: SIMON PARKEREast Suffolk councillor Tony Cooper said that while he supported the principal of the lake, there was not enough detail to be able to grant planning permission. Picture: SIMON PARKER

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Councillor Tony Cooper added: “I am all for young people getting exercise and being out in the fresh air, but I can’t see how we as a council can turn around and give planning permission for something we haven’t got the plans for. To me that is a retrograde step.”

The plans had the full support of Easton Parish Council, and East Suffolk Council said it did recognise the economic potential it would bring.

Fiona Siddall, from Easton Farm Park, said: “I don’t believe there has been a more challenging period in the history of our business than today, and a project such as this will help secure our business in case of future virus risks.

“This application has received overwhelming support from all quarters and is a perfect fit with what we do.

“It offers an exciting family day out and manages to include the hard-to-reach teenage customer.”

The park owners said it would be used for schools, community groups and amputees being supported by Help for Heroes, with the project being led by an expert in low ropes course designs.

It is not yet clear if revised plans will be submitted in the future.


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