Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Residents complain about noise from new aqua park

Residents complain about noise from new aqua park

RESIDENTS have complained about loud noises and fireworks coming from an unauthorised water sports centre in Caversham.

Cosmonaut Leisure opened Caversham Lakes, off Henley Road, in August and is now seeking retrospective planning permission from South Oxfordshire District Council.

Hundreds of letters have been submitted by residents, both for and against the application, which seeks to allow the northern lake to be used for sport and recreation.

Reading Borough Council has already registered its concern about extra traffic as there were about 500 visitors over the August bank holiday weekend.

Now its environmental health team says it has received complaints about noise from seven different residents of Henley Road.

Ross Jarvis, senior environmental health officer, said: “The music noise disturbance is alleged to regularly go on from early afternoon into the evening, getting louder as the evening goes on until 11pm. We have also received complaints about fireworks being set off late in the evening.”

Mr Jarvis said that the Caversham Lakes website showed that the on-site bar opened daily until 10pm. It also promoted its use for weddings and parties as well as proposed events such as the Lakeside Festival planned for October 2 and 3.

He said: “This points to an intention to use the site intensively for events that will include loud music.

“In order for us to judge whether this is acceptable, or can be made so, I would expect a noise assessment to be carried out and mitigation proposed prior to any planning permission being given.

“It would then be possible to see if the use is suitable at the site or not and, if it is suitable, whether a noise mitigation scheme is required to make it so. Conditions could then be attached to control the use.”

Mr Jarvis said his objection would stand until information had been provided that showed noise from the site could be controlled effectively.

Eye and Dunsden Parish Council has also objected, citing to concerns about wildlife and the impact on road safety.

It said the centre would pose a threat to the ecology of the area andthat the business had shown “little regard” for the planning system.

The Environment Agency has also objected, saying the area could have significant ecological value and the application has insufficient information on flooding.

The Caversham and District Residents Association claims that there has not been proper consultation on the plans.

The centre had been shut for months due to the coronavirus pandemic before it re-opened in August, offering activities including kayaking, swimming and paddleboarding from 6am to 8pm.

Pegasus Group, Cosmonaut’s agent, said Caversham Lakes was an established watersports complex and the centre would offer new sports such as outdoor swimming.

It also said that the 80 bays in the car park would not be marked out in order to preserve the area’s rural appearance.

In May, Martyn Edwards, founder of Caversham Lakes, said significant attention had been paid to ensuring wildlife would not be harmed.

He said: “I’m aware of the sensitive nature of the site and have been for many years.

“Extensive surveys and reports have been commissioned in accordance with the requirements of the district and county councils, which I continue to positively work with.”

Earlier this month, Mr Edwards wrote to customers saying the company had provided the council with “everything necessary” and at “considerable expense”.

He said the application was likely be rejected soon due to the district council saying not enough information had been provided to support the application.

But Cosmonaut Leisure intended to stay anyway and would submit another application if necessary.

Mr Edwards did not respond to requests for comment.

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