Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Sights set on a stunning venue

A SPORTING and cafe hub on Walney with stunning views is one of the first projects being promoted by the Boosting Barrow and Furness group.

Ulverston-based building design consultancy Shepherd Myers has worked on a design concept for the hub.

It has taken its inspiration from Earnse Bay staging the British Kite Surfing Association Championships and sees an opportunity to build a sporting venue of which to be proud.

It says: “Earnse Bay plays host to the BKSA and boasts three miles of firm sand with only nine local kite surfers, meaning an uncrowded beach ideal for learning to kite surf.”

Shepherd Myers envisages the hub providing training in a surf pool, along with showers and changing rooms as a base for the kite surfers, adventure sports shops, and a cafe, and children’s play area with panoramic views looking out towards Black Combe and the Isle of Man.

The company presented its vision to a meeting of the Boosting Barrow and Furness Group and received widespread support for trying to take the plans forward.

The next stage is to put the plans out to the public and invite feedback on the scheme.

Neil Shepherd, partner in Shepherd Myers, said: “We wanted to create a watersports venue and build on the kite surfing that was already there on Walney.

“We also wanted to build on all the healthy lifestyle initiatives which are rising in popularity and celebrate all the activities there are to do on Walney.

“We wanted it to be a wet weather attraction, to pull in tourists from the fringes of the Lakes, with the stunning views across the sea to Black Combe and the Isle of Man. And to make it realistic we need those revenue streams and perhaps a conference facility, or training centre so that it can pay for itself.

“Joe Warner came up with the eco designs so that it would fit into the environment and have full green technology to fit into the wonderful natural landscape there.

“The aim is to spark interest and debate. We have sited this for the purposes of the exercise at the end of the road overlooking Earnse Bay.

“But we have not got into any discussions with landowners at this stage. It is purely to test the water and see if it appeals to people and see if it has got legs.”

Have your say

I was initially glad to see some plans for some decent facilities for watersports enthusiasts and a cafe overlooking the beach would be great. I say initially glad because as I thought about it for a bit longer there are a few alarming statements and implications within the article.
"opportunity to build a sporting venue of which to be proud."
The sporting venue exists naturally and is on the open beach, you can't practice kitesurfing in an indoor venue so this confuses me a little.
"The company presented its vision to a meeting of the Boosting Barrow and Furness Group and received widespread support for trying to take the plans forward."
Why is it there is and never has been support for funding to small businesses involved in leisure and it only seems to go to large companies, North West Kitesurfing applied for funding to employ 1 person some years ago and was turned down reason being "it's not a sustainable business" (guess what? it sustained itself), the kitesurfing school at Earnse bay that has been there since 2005 has been solely responsible for putting Walney on the map for kitesports and has never recieved a penny of funding in the 6 years of existing.
"Neil Shepherd, partner in Shepherd Myers, said: “We wanted to create a watersports venue and build on the kite surfing that was already there on Walney."
Has the existing kiteschool owner been considered in the big scheme of things? After all it is he who has brought 5 BKSA national competitions to the area, if anybody is to benefit from building on the back of this then surely it should include him? He has spent 6 years and many thousands of pounds of his own money to increase his qualifications and build his business.
Finding out about this through an article in the newspaper rather than being informed or involved is quite shocking. If he has not been considered as it seems has happened it would be silly of the proposers as he is the only active qualified kitesurfing instructor in the Cumbria area, one of only 7 BKSA national trainers in the country, 5x BKSA championship event organiser and the the only licence holder to teach kiting activities at Earnse Bay, in fact I would go as far as to say it would be business suicide to try to set this up under his nose and disclude him, let alone sneaky. The fact that he has no idea about the proposal seems to suggest he will not be included.
Very dissapointed.

Posted by Gary Powell on 27 September 2011 at 21:36

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