‘Our lives will be turned upside’ - Anger over Alton Towers founder’s bid for holiday resort
PUBLISHED: 06:30 14 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:52 14 July 2020
People living in a quiet community say their lives will be “turned upside down” if plans for a major holiday resort from the founder of Alton Towers are given the green light.
Concerns have been raised by people who live in the Lakeside community on Haveringland Hall Country Park, which is the subject of an ambitious vision for a holiday resort.
Plans for the site, near Cawston, have been submitted by John Broome, who was behind the Staffordshire theme park, and Grosvenor Parks Ltd to transform it into a resort featuring tipis and tree houses with room to accommodate 280 families.
But many of the people who live in Lakeside strongly object to the development and have outlined security, the destruction of the natural environment, road safety and the loss of a unique community as issues.
Mr Broome has previously said the “sensitivity of the location” had been acknowledged and those living or staying on site would have “access to a range of supporting services and facilities”, adding that the bid would ensure “any environmental harm is mitigated or managed”.
Ray Whitbourne has lived at Lakeside for 13 years and said his neighbours were “really upset and worried” about the impact of a holiday park.
The 72-year-old said: “It is such a unique place to live and there is nowhere like it. If these plans get approved, our lives will be turned upside down and ruined.
“There is also the natural environment to think of as there is so much wildlife here. If there is construction and loads of holiday homes they will all move.”
The homes at Lakeside border Haveringland Lake, which Mr Whitbourne said would become cut off to people living nearby if the plans get the go ahead.
He added: “We go there for walks and if it is bordered by lots of holiday homes there just will not be access.”
Dennis Coulthreav, 72, has lived at Lakeside for 24 years, and said his main objections were around “security and peace”.
He said: “It will take away our privacy, peace and security. The proposed lodges will look over our gardens and as for security, we have all been here a long time and know each other, and having hundreds of holidaymakers on site means we won’t be able to live so freely. It is more than just a home here it is a way of life.”
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Fiona Palmer, a resident for nine years, 56, said she had concerns over road access, saying that if tourists use the current main road it would be “horrendous”.
She said: “You can’t use this road for hundreds of people as it is only a few metres wide. I’m really worried and do not understand how more people would be able to drive on it.”
For the longest running resident, Margaret Mower, who has lived at Lakeside for 53 years, the plans have left her feeling “frightened”.
The 73-year-old said: “In all my years of living here I have never felt so unsafe.
“We all came here for the peace and quiet but that will be destroyed. I’m frightened and I’m frightened for our community.”
Meanwhile, waste concerns were raised by Neville Bussingham, who has lived at Lakeside for nearly eight years. He said: “I don’t think the sewage will cope and it could be horrendous. It struggles as it is and I won’t even go down the bottom of my garden because of it.”
For one resident, who did not want to be named, Lakeside represented “a childhood you do not see anymore”.
Plans submitted to Broadland District Council suggest the park would generate £2m a year for the local economy.
Mr Broome said: “Our plans will carefully increase the number of accommodation units within the estate, giving those staying on site, and those already living there, access to a range of supporting services and facilities, while at the same time ensuring that any environmental harm is mitigated or managed.”
He said the development had been “conceived as sustainable” and includes “mitigation proposals to enhance biodiversity on the site, improve the setting of the site in the landscape, protecting trees and ancient woodland”.
He also said traffic plans said the existing road network was “more than capable” of accommodating the traffic in the proposed development.
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