Proposals to create earth lodge self-catering holiday accommodation at Bewl Water have progressed, with the submission of a planning application to Wealden Council.
Following a successful consultation with neighbours and other stakeholders during the autumn, our planning team has reviewed the comments received and incorporated some changes into the application.
The number of proposed lodges has been reduced from the 60 presented at the exhibition to 58, and a biomass boiler has been included to provide a sustainable energy source for the whole development.
The two-bedroom earth lodges would be cut into a slope, covered by earth banks and sheltered beneath a wild meadow roof. Each would incorporate high performance construction and renewable energy technologies.
The lodges would all have views of the water and woodland as well as private outdoor space.
The intention is to provide accommodation to complement the leisure and recreation facilities already available at the 800-acre Bewl Water County Park, as well as providing a perfect base for short break holidays from which to explore Wealden and West Kent.
The consultation event at the Waterside Visitor Centre in November was attended by 145 people, and the majority of written responses submitted both on the day and via the website – www.bewlwater-earthlodges.co.uk – were positive.
Of those who responded to the question: “Do you support the principle of high-quality, self-catering accommodation at Bewl?” 33 answered yes; 31 answered yes, but with reservations; and just two answered no.
Andrew Daniells, Chief Operating Officer of Markerstudy Leisure, said: “The response from local residents and watersports enthusiasts to our initial proposals has been overwhelmingly positive and we would like to thank all who have taken the time to comment so far.
“We believe the addition of self-catering accommodation at Bewl Water would enable us to play a greater role in supporting other local tourism businesses.
“The earth lodges are an integral part of our long-term strategy to ensure the country park can operate as an all year round destination for outdoor pursuits and continue to improve the facilities for existing watersports users.” Wealden council will now consult on the application before it goes to its planning committee later this year.
To comment, visit www.planning.wealden.gov.uk and search for application reference number WD/2017/0210/MAJ.