Good news on the prospect for the water sports lake at Upton

With all the problems over the flooding last winter and now the Covid 19 crisis the committee thought some good news on our plans for development of the club would be welcome.

Things have recently taken a significant a step forward. CEMEX, which operates the quarry and concrete plant at Ryall House Farm Quarry, has submitted two planning applications to extend Ryall North Quarry to the south to allow further gravel extraction. This will result in the formation of a lake of the right proportions to allow a watersports facility to be established.

 If the proposed extension is permitted by the County Council and gravel extraction begins in this area, the resulting lake, though larger than the one being formed by the existing scheme, would only occupy a small part of Fish Meadow. We have been advised by the owner of the meadow that the proposed lake would not affect the holding of future festivals on the meadow, and in fact sees it as an enhancement that will make the site a more attractive venue. Any loss of area for car parking and camping would be compensated for by opening up fields adjacent to Fish Meadow. For the short time work is in progress there will be some inconvenience but it is the ambition of all parties that this is minimised with the least effect on the festivals.  Public access would be maintained allowing walking and running along existing and proposed new footpaths. The drawing Cemex have submitted to the County Council showing the restoration of the lake and the surrounding area is attached. If you wish to see the full applications (ref 20/000009/CM and 20/000015/CM) these can be downloaded from the WCC website. WCC Planning

The aim is for the lake to be imaginatively and sensitively managed to enhance the site for the benefit of the whole local area and provide a safer place for watersports to train and perform than the river. Upton Rowing Club is currently taking the lead in relation to these proposals and is in consultation with other sports and stakeholders representing the community. We have been in contact with a number of national governing bodies representing canoeing, triathlon, paddle boarding, open-water swimming, bell boating and dinghy sailing all of whom have expressed real interest in being involved with the project. With the extension of the lake to the south, should it be approved, a multi-lane 1000m competition course can be established for canoeing as well as, of course, rowing. British Rowing, the West Midland Regional Rowing Council and local clubs are kept informed of developments all of whom support the project.

We should emphasise that this opportunity depends on many things; most importantly the approval of CEMEX’s planning application. However, CEMEX supports this plan and we have been in continuous close contact with them regarding the proposal.

We will share any further update as soon as information is available.

Peter Barker

Chairman Upton RC