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Multi-million ‘eco tourism’ complex near Barnstaple will be open by 2020

PUBLISHED: 06:52 30 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:02 31 January 2018

How the Birchwood Lakes site at Landkey is set to look.

How the Birchwood Lakes site at Landkey is set to look.

Archant

The first units of the new £3.9m Birchwood Lakes holiday complex near Landkey could be on sale in 2019

Habitat First Group managing director Will Vicary surveys plans for the redevelopment of Venn Quarry, near Landkey. Picture: Andy Keeble Habitat First Group managing director Will Vicary surveys plans for the redevelopment of Venn Quarry, near Landkey. Picture: Andy Keeble

The first units of a multi-million ‘eco tourism’ development near Barnstaple could go on sale as early as next year.

Outline planning permission 158 holiday units plus a 40-bedroom hotel at the former Venn Quarry site near Landkey was granted in April last year.

Now the Birchwood Lakes development from Habitat First Group will be the subject of a series of ‘reserved matters’ planning applications this year to establish the design of the complex.

The site will also boast a spa and country club with leisure facilities and the developers say it will bring £3.9million a year into the North Devon economy.

A programme of restoration is under way at Venn Quarry, near Landkey. Picture: Andy Keeble A programme of restoration is under way at Venn Quarry, near Landkey. Picture: Andy Keeble

It says around 30 construction and 77 operational jobs are expected to be created at the 63 hectare site.

Habitat First Group says the former quarry will ‘be restored into a sustainable eco-tourism development’ and it would ‘harmonise’ with the natural environment and protect the wildlife on the site.

It proposes to install renewable energy, highly-insulated modular building techniques, rainwater harvesting and facilities for re-use of grey water, plus ‘extensive areas of wetland and wet broad-leaved woodland’.

The quarry operated until 2006 and was bought by Habitat First Group in 2012.

Agraphic design of the Birchwood Lakes 'eco tourism' hotel and spa. Agraphic design of the Birchwood Lakes 'eco tourism' hotel and spa.

Managing director Will Vicary said: “We have listened to and worked extensively with the local community to develop our proposals up until this stage. It is vital that we have the buy in from all parties involved to help us see through our vision; transforming what was once a derelict quarry into a world-class conservation community.’

“Once the detailed design has been permitted, we hope to begin construction in 2019 and for the site to be operational in 2020. We estimate that Birchwood Lakes will create approximately 100 jobs and pump over £3.9 million into the local economy each year, bringing huge benefits to the entire county.”

The company says benefits to the public will include the provision of a Venn Cross Nature Reserve, with new footpaths and opportunities for watching wildlife.

The publicly accessible areas will include a heritage trail, visitor amenities and shelters, and a small cafe for passing visitors. These areas will be accessible from the Tarka Trail.

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