Sailing club's fears for future over King's Mill reservoir parking charge plans

Members of a Sutton sailing club are fearing for the future after the council revealed plans to open a pay-and-display car park on its grounds.

Friday, 6th December 2019, 4:00 pm

Sutton-in-Ashfield Sailing Club operates at King’s Mill Reservoir and celebrated its 60th anniversary earlier this year, but now it fears it may have to close for good.

It comes as Ashfield District Council explores plans to open a large pay-and-display car park on the land where the sailing club stores its boats, meaning it will “struggle to function” as a club.

The council has said it wants to increase car parking at the reservoir, which is says is an “incredible asset” to the district, and the plans would see a change to the lease agreement with the club in favour of a bigger car park.

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Out on the water with the sailing club is Chad reporter Jessica Dallison.
Out on the water with the sailing club is Chad reporter Jessica Dallison.

Sarah Cadwallader, general secretary of the club, says the club has put forward a case to the council against the plans and urged the authority to think again.

She said: “We’ve sent an impact assessment to the council saying what the club does for the local community, especially in terms of access to sailing for people from a variety of backgrounds across the locality, and they’ve just not been interested.

“They have ignored us and they are taking the land off us basically to turn it into a pay and display car park which means everybody will have to pay to park at the Res and we will struggle to function as a club.”

But the council has said it wants the club to outline how it will provide a “more diverse offer” of attractions at the site, which reach a “wider community”.

Alan Gregory out on the water with his four year old grandaughter Amelia

Theresa Hodgkinson, director of place and communities, says car parking income at the site will help to “maintain and develop” the reservoir site as a key attraction for the district.

She said: “Due to the popularity of King’s Mill Reservoir, we are looking to increase the car parking available on site.

“Kings Mill reservoir is an incredible asset to the district and we want to make sure it’s accessed by as many people as possible.

“We have written to the club to explain our plans and have requested the club provide us with an outline on how they will grow the membership and how they will also provide wider community benefits to Ashfield residents.

Peter and John prepare the boat.

“Parking charges will be applied to the car parks next year. The first hour will be free and a nominal fee will apply for additional time. Our studies show that the majority of visitors stay for less than an hour.

“This car park income will help us maintain and develop the reservoir as a visitor attraction.

“We understand the sailing club’s concerns and are working with them to address these, but the council wants to see a more diverse offer of water based activities that are accessible to all parts of the community.”