W. H. White submit appeal for once-in-a-generation brocks pine proposals
W. H. White Ltd have submitted an appeal against the non-determination of the planning application for Brocks Pine.
The Planning Inspectorate will, if appropriate, now make a decision on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for significant expansion of Avon Heath Country Park, a new country park SANG to protect Dorset Heaths and a world-class inland surf lagoon at land southeast of A31 Ringwood Road, either side of Brocks Pine in St Leonards, Dorset.
The submission of the planning application came in November 2021 following widescale public engagement which showed that 62% of respondents supported the plans for a world-class inland surfing lagoon at Brocks Pine. Even more residents (66%) supported the planned improvements to Avon Heath Country Park and significant new greenspace in order to preserve and protect the Dorset Heaths.
The decision to submit an appeal has been made 18 months after the planning application was submitted, during which time W. H. White has sought to respond positively to comments and requests made by Dorset Council and consultees. The additional information and amendments to the planning application that have resulted confirm W. H. White’s opinion that all matters can be satisfactorily and positively resolved in planning terms.
A representative of W. H. White Ltd said:
“We are keen to move forward with our plans for Brocks Pine which will deliver significant environmental benefits, as well as securing a once-in-a-generation opportunity for an inland surf lagoon providing a considerable boost to the leisure and tourism economy in Dorset.
“We have therefore made the decision to submit an appeal. We hope this will enable a decision to be made on the planning application without further delay, which will provide clarity for the community on the many potential benefits arising from the Brocks Pine proposals.”
Enhancing and protecting the natural environment
Enhancing and protecting the natural environment in the local area is central to the planning application with the majority of the site, 68% (20 hectares), planned as:
- 14.7 hectares of country park SANG alongside relocated Avon Heath Country Park facilities (0.8 hectares),
- The restoration of 3.3 hectares currently comprising the aging country park buildings to natural green space
- 1.2 hectares of amenity grassland
Dorset Council’s current Avon Heath Country Park facilities are constrained and provide all too convenient access to the surrounding heathland, which exponentially increases pressure on this internationally protected habitat. It is a key objective of Natural England and Dorset Council’s to reduce recreational pressures on the Dorset Heaths through active management measures and providing Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace.
The Brocks Pine proposals will help achieve this essential objective by relocating Avon Heath Country Park, with new modern facilities and providing a new Country Park SANG which will reduce recreational pressures upon the protected and internationally recognised heathland habitats. The plans would therefore enable Avon Heath to thrive and deliver significant environmental and biodiversity benefits.
The wider Avon Heath Country Park will continue to be owned and operated by Dorset Council, providing the same popular facilities, open spaces and events that it does currently, but with more modern and sustainable buildings.
Supporting Dorset’s vital leisure and tourism economy
The remaining 7.7 hectares (26% of the site) is proposed as a once in a generation opportunity for an inland surf lagoon for Dorset.
Surfing England are backing the proposals which will cement Dorset’s reputation as a surf destination and enable Dorset to hold its own against cities like Bristol and Birmingham where surf lagoons are already drawing visitors, tourism and expenditure from Dorset.
This exciting vision would bring significant economic benefits to Dorset’s key leisure and tourism sectors, creating over 100 jobs and injecting over £5 million into the local economy every year. The proposals would also deliver substantial education, health and wellbeing benefits for the wider community.
This one-time opportunity for considerable economic benefit has been recognised by the Council’s Growth & Economic Regeneration department, who commenting on the planning application: “It is exactly the kind of outdoor sport and recreation facility that Dorset would benefit from to encourage visitors and potential residents to visit and live here and would offer the same benefits to existing residents. It may also play a role in improving Dorset’s image as a place with little for younger working-age people, and play a part in mitigating Dorset’s long-term demographic trend of a shrinking working-age population.”