04:41PM, Monday 28 March 2022
Bosses at an aqua park in Datchet have said they are 'deeply worried' it could close for good and see up to 300 job losses if it loses a public inquiry.
It could be the end of the line for Liquid Leisure Windsor Aqua Park, in Horton Road, if it loses its appeal to the council’s enforcement notice following a four-day hearing.
The Royal Borough served an enforcement notice on the park in December 2020, requiring the park to cease and remove most of the buildings on the site.
This is because the park changed its use without planning permission from water-skiing and windsurfing to a mixed-used that compromises an aqua park, including water-skiing, caravan and camping site, party venue, and a child’s play centre.
Aqua Park bosses have appealed the notice and are seeking planning permission through the appeal process for a 'slightly scaled-down version'.
Park managers fear up to 300 jobs are at risk, wages of over £2.5million could be lost, and local suppliers could lose up to £500,000 of orders per year if the planning inspector sides with the council.
Stuart Marston, managing director of Liquid Leisure Windsor said: “Losing children’s activities that help build confidence in the water with their peers and reducing safe access to water for thousands of residents in the summer months really scares me.
"With this action from the council, we will no longer be able to train much-needed open water lifeguards in Datchet.”
A spokesperson for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead said the extensive unauthorised works at the site have taken place in the greenbelt, a local wildlife site, and in flood zone three – which means there’s a very high chance the area will flood.
They said: “The enforcement action being taken will enable the lawful water-skiing and windsurfing use to continue and we have invited Liquid Leisure to regularise the position by making a planning application for a reduced scale enterprise which would reduce the harm that has been identified. The business can still choose to make an application.”
The four-day public inquiry was due to take place tomorrow (Tuesday) but due to the inspector 'experiencing COVID symptoms', it has been postponed.
New dates are yet to be confirmed but could be at the end of June and the beginning of July.
An independent report into a Conservative councillor has found a breach of the Royal Borough’s code of conduct in a document seen by the Advertiser.