Heavy Lifting: English wave pool moves to speed up bureaucratic bind

Thirty miles south of Stonehenge, a wave pool project initially pitched two years ago in Dorset, England has given the nudge to local officials to speed up the permitting process. Recently, W. H. White Ltd submitted an appeal against the non-determination of the planning application for Brocks Pine.

The Planning Inspectorate will now be required to make a timely decision on expanding Avon Heath Country Park along with protections to Dorset Heaths and an inland surf lagoon. The submission of the planning application came in November 2021 following widescale public engagement. Developers W. H. White said a survey showed that 62% of respondents supported the plans for the wave pool 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,” said W. H. White Ltd in a press release. “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.”

This may be a bit of a stretch but for many tourists, WavePoolMag staff included, seeing Stonehenge in the morning and surfing the Brocks Pine wave pool at lunchtime would make for a memorable trip.

The matter has gone before the public on several occasions with the major concern being traffic increase to the area. Developers have created an animated video to represent the increase in traffic to the area caused by the surf park.

Proponents say the project will revamp local public use space and reduce recreational pressures on the park known as Dorset Heaths. The company also says they will use solar photovoltaic technology to create on-site renewable energy.

“W. H. White control the land either side of Brocks Pine and Dorset Council own and manage Avon Heath Country Park, there is an opportunity to collaborate to create a comprehensive nature-based, world class leisure attraction at no cost to the tax-payer,” the company said. “The proposals are at an early stage and Avon Heath Country Park will remain open and will continue to provide its popular services to the local community.”

The wave pool plans call for 14.7 hectares of country park SANG alongside relocated Avon Heath Country Park facilities (0.8 hectares) and the restoration of 3.3 hectares currently comprising the aging country park buildings to natural green space and some amnesty grassland area.

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Developers have created the above map to show traffic increases as a result of the project. Vehicles going to the surf park are shown in violet.