Cotswold Water Park is to be made a major tourism destination through a redesign of its lake system, expansion of its leisure uses and the development of a luxury hotel with conferencing facilities.
The plans form part of Gloucestershire 2050, an initiative to transform the county over the next 30 years led by a joint venture of local councils. In addition to the work on Cotswold Water Park, the project would include a development between Cheltenham and Gloucester to create a “super city” and the designation of the Forest of Dean and Severn Vales a “Regional Parks” to promote them as tourism destinations and invest in facilities.
Cotswold Water Park is an area of 40 square miles with more than 150 lakes set across the countryside of Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.
Visitors can take part in a range of activities from independent operators, including aerial adventure, archery, golf, horse riding, rally driving, paintballing and shooting. There is also a variety of water sports available, from inflatable rides to kayaking and wakeboarding.
The Gloucestershire 2050 plan describes Cotswold Water Park as fragmented, with no significant body of water among the many lakes. It calls for a re-design of the existing lakes to create a larger single body of water surrounded by smaller lakes “that could be explored and used as a coherent whole, whilst maintaining and expanding the existing range of leisure uses”.
It also calls for a 1,000 bed, five-star hotel with conferences and meeting facilities in the area.
“Gloucestershire lacks large hotels suitable for major international conferences. The hotel facility, together with the Cotswold Airport, would provide a resource that would boost the international reputation of the county’s leading business sectors and bring the market to Gloucestershire,” the plan states.
Gloucestershire 2050 also includes a new bridge over the River Severn between Lydney and Sharpness as well as an expansion of the Cotswold Airport. The plans are currently undergoing a six-month consultation period with the public and businesses invited to weigh in.