The proposed surf lagoon, which is supported by governing body Surf England, is a unique opportunity for Dorset to cement its reputation as a surf destination and natural playground. This world class facility will promote year-round trips, securing significant benefits to the tourism and hospitality economy in Dorset. Key to the vision is the opportunity to create a much improved country park, alongside a significant area of natural green-space to preserve and protect the Dorset Heaths. The proposal to create a SANG and greatly improve Avon Heath Country Park is supported by Natural England as it will help to reduce recreational pressures on the Heathland.
The scheme introduces a landscape-led masterplan approach and will include the following elements;
- A new surfing complex with wave pool, visitor centre and landscaped grounds that support a range of visitor uses and new garden spaces.
- A SANG, which will provide a significant area of natural greenspace to protect and preserve the nearby Dorset Heaths by helping relieve wider development pressures on the heaths.
- New Avon Heath Visitor centre with forest school and café/toilets.
- Cycle park & Skate park
- Recreational walking routes with improved links to St.Leonards
- Seasonal camping field
- A new access roundabout access and car park
The proposals seek to introduce several sustainability and low energy design principles to reduce impacts upon the environment and work towards net-zero construction targets. Although these strategies will be determined during the detailed design stage, the principles that may form part of the sustainability strategy and being promoted in the proposals include;
Low Energy Building Design
Both the Surf Lake Centre and Avon Heath Visitor Centre will be designed using low energy principles to minimise both embodied and operational carbon usage with the ambition of applying RIBA 2030 climate challenge targets.
Renewable Energy Generation
The consideration of photovoltaic array upon the roofscape of both buildings to help generate electricity to power both the buildings and surf lake itself.
Sustainable Urban Drainage (SUDs)
SUDs features including attenuation areas and swales will be used as part of the sitewide drainage strategy.
The use of green roofs will be considered upon both buildings. These will help to reduce run-off, whilst providing additional habitat space. The use of blue roof systems may also be considered where required to assist with the wider drainage strategy.
Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG)
The landscape proposals seek to maximise habitat creation and will meet the relevant Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG)targets.
Active and Sustainable Travel
The proposals will support sustainable modes of transport with new footpath and walking links, cycle parking and EV charging points within the car park.