Leisure Lakes

  • Client Leisure Lakes Ltd
  • Location Mere Brow
  • Services Arboriculture, Ecology, Landscape Architecture. Landscape Planning, Urban Design

Overcoming complex planning history to deliver a year round visitor destination

Leisure Lakes is an established 300-acre tourist destination located on a former gravel workings, reclaimed to accommodate a broad range of outdoor sport and leisure activities.

The site had a long-standing, complex planning history with a number of refusals and appeals. The site is designated green belt, a Biological Heritage Site and covered by a woodland Tree Preservation Order. This raised a challenging set of land-use and planning issues.

Leisure Lakes site

“We commissioned Urban Green initially for their arboriculture expertise, but following their innovative approach and level of service, we had no hesitation in extending their involvement to include landscape architecture. Martin and the team were instrumental in presenting a comprehensive approach to achieve the successful planning appeal which was fundamental to our business plan.”

Philip Whitter, Owner, Leisure Lakes Ltd

The original brief was to challenge the refusal of detailed planning consent of 49 chalets in the woodland dating back 21 years. Beyond which, our client’s intention was to pursue the further redevelopment of the site.

Urban Green worked collaboratively with our client and the planning consultant, Maze Planning, over a five-year period to explore all options for redevelopment ensuring that the proposals were respectful and befitting of the setting whilst delivering a viable and commercial solution.

Arboriculture and ecology surveys including water voles were completed to fully inform the opportunities and constraints of the site.

Extensive consultation was undertaken with the Local Authority’s planning and tree officers and their ecology advisors to identify and support a viable solution.

The resulting masterplan created a high-quality leisure destination with a supporting viable business plan and a sustainable delivery model which saw the successful:

  • Planning appeal for 49 chalets within a woodland setting
  • Detailed planning consent for an 18-hole golf course
  • Approved matters consent for a security building and landscape works
Leisure Lakes masterplan

“I have to say that our life is so much easier when we're dealing with reasonable professional people who understand the general pressures we're under but do their clients justice by fully engaging – so credit to you. Personally, I think it was the right move by WLBC to be supporting something like this as it wouldn't have been too difficult for a planning committee to turn their back on it.”

Rob Hitchcock, Senior Planning Officer, West Lancashire Borough Council

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