Gorefield developer in line to buy West Norfolk beauty spot Bawsey Pits and transform it into country park
PUBLISHED: 15:52 23 January 2015 | UPDATED: 15:52 23 January 2015
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A property developer from Gorefield who is close to buying a troubled West Norfolk beauty spot has outlined his plans to transform the area into a country park.
The move could see Bawsey Pits eventually transformed into a family friendly facility with features including wildlife viewing facilities, an eco visitor centre and a variety of outdoor activities.
Kevin Salter is set to take ownership of the former sand quarry near King’s Lynn in the next couple of months where his first priority will be to improve security at the site.
“We all know this location has a terrible reputation for antisocial behaviour,” he said, “and our first priority will be to take control of that and address people’s concerns for their safety.
“I am a local man from the area and used to visit the site in its former glory. Now I’m 56-years-old, I’m at a point in my life where I couldn’t think of a better project to be involved with.
“Of course, I have a commercial interest and have been following the developments at Bawsey. My team is very much looking forward to continue working with local community and delivering a sustainable project for the area.”
Lawyers are close to finalising the deal between Mr Salter and the site’s current owners, the minerals firm Sibelco. A completion date has been set for the end of March but the financial value of the sale cannot be revealed for legal reasons.
Bawsey Pits has been a popular family beauty spot for many years. But more recently, regular reports of antisocial behaviour tarnished the site and tragedy struck in 2013 when two men drowned after ignoring a swimming ban in July 2013.
“Swimmers had been ignoring those warning signs for a long time,” explained Sibelco director Gary Stringer. “Immediately after those events, I explained publicly that only a community-based solution would help resolve the issues were facing.”
Since then, more than 600 people responded to a survey issued by Sibelco to gauge public opinion on the future of Bawsey Pits. This led to the formation of the Bawsey Lakes Futures Group.
“I’m thrilled that we have found a partner in Kevin Salter whose vision chimes so closely with ours and that of the public as outlined in the survey results,” Mr Stringer added.
Sibelco has also pledged £25,000 which will go towards funding the activities of the futures group, such as public meetings.
Mr Salter added: “My vision for the site is the same as the local community. All parties want the same for this development and I look forward to working with everyone on this project.”
Futures group member Elaine Oliver, and also clerk to Leziate Parish Council, is pleased the process so far has been in line with the community consultation. “From our initial meeting with Mr Slater things look very optimistic and in line with the results of the community survey.”
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