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What do you think should happen to Bawsey Pits?

11:53 28 March 2014

A consultation is being held over the future of Bawsey Pits, where two people drowned last summer. Picture: Ian Burt

A consultation is being held over the future of Bawsey Pits, where two people drowned last summer. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2013

Formal consultation on the future of a Norfolk beauty spot where double tragedy struck last summer has begun with the publication of a questionnaire.

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Last July two men, 41-year-old Ryan Pettengell and Umar Balogun, 16, drowned on the same day at Bawsey Pits, a country park four miles east of King’s Lynn.

Both had entered the water at the former sand quarry despite no-swimming warning notices being positioned near the lakes. The inquest into Mr Pettengel’s death concluded he had died accidentally.

Site owner, minerals firm Sibelco Europe Ltd, shut the car park immediately following the deaths but under planning law is required to keep the park open to the public.

Now the firm wants to assess people’s hopes for the site where vandalism and anti-social behaviour is commonplace.

Months of informal talks with the local authorities, police and residents have resulted in a questionnaire that this week was distributed widely in the area and made available online.

Gary Stringer, Sibelco’s resources director, said: “There needs to be a long term viable solution for Bawsey and we have an open mind as to what that might be.

“It’s a much loved facility but sadly one that has suffered from abuse and flouting of the safety rules.

“It’s vital to bear in mind then that if improvements are called for there might need to be some form of commercial activity at Bawsey to fund them.

“The most important thing at this stage is to gauge public opinion and we hope as many people as possible will complete the questionnaire.

“We will share the results as soon as we have assessed them and will share our initial thoughts on what the consensus of opinion is. By working together hopefully we can avoid further tragedies and our thoughts remain with those affected by last summer’s awful incidents.”

Click here to complete the survey online. The closing date is April 30 (5pm).

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