Aquapark boss hits back at threat of enforcement
- Credit: Terry Harris
Ian Forster says the threat of enforcement action by Fenland Council against his new aquapark is “incomplete and misleading”.
In a robust rebuttal of their statement querying whether it has planning permission, he says the inflatable aqua park needs no separate consent.
Mr Forster opened Fenland aquapark at Gildenburgh Water and business is booming – albeit with restricted numbers to comply with Covid guidelines.
He has owned Gildenburgh since 1985 and has permission to use the land and water “for the provision of leisure facilities.”.
“At the request of an FDC planning officer we appointed a planning consultant in February, and have been working closely with her (and FDC as necessary) ever since.”
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He added: “She agrees the planning permission covers Fenland Aquapark, which is a leisure facility on water.”
Mr Forster says his consultant advised the council that “in my opinion, having given consideration to the relevant case law, I do not consider the inflatable aqua park to constitute a building or development which would require planning permission”.
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He said that following the email exchange “no compelling further comments were received from FDC” so he went ahead and ordered the aquapark from China.
He took on delivery on May 29 “installing it and launching it as the first aquapark in Fenland and Peterborough in June”.
Mr Forster said that since May 2020 when some Covid-19 restrictions were lifted, the lake in the Fens and another at Tamworth had served 40,000 divers and swimmers.
“We all worked hard to stay with limited numbers, and the team worked longer hours to keep numbers to 30 rather than 60,” he said.
A Fenland District Council spokesperson said: “It’s great to see local businesses diversifying their offer to customers, especially during the current climate.
“But due regard must be given to planning legislation which helps to ensure that developments are in the community’s best interests.
“The aquapark has been reported to us as an alleged breach of planning control and our planning enforcement team is looking into it.”
The spokesperson added: “We have previously invited the owner to submit a planning application, or to apply for a certificate of lawful development if they are of the view that they do not require permission.
“No application has been submitted to date.
“We will continue to liaise with the owner and discuss the relevant circumstances in order to determine if enforcement action is appropriate.”