Proposals for a new artificial surf lagoon have been in progress over the last few years, writes Aimee Francis
The lagoon will be situated off of the A31 near Ringwood. However, many locals have been campaigning for an appeal against this decision.
The ‘Surf Reef Opposition Group’ have been protesting at Avon Heath Country Park, where the lagoon will be built, stating that the community’s Green Belt is more important than a new tourist attraction.
Protesters claim to have collected 900 signatures from residents who don’t wish to lose that land as the country park is an area of greenery and forest.
Locals have said that the impact on the traffic in the area needs to be considered as it is already a busy road so adding further traffic would be a disaster.
Speaking to Mark Reeves, owner of Shaka Surf Branksome, he said; “As much as I love the idea it does worry me a little about repercussions upon my business. As a surfer yes I think it would be terrific. As a surf school owner in the area where it is, probably not the best thing for us.”
Keen surfer Olivia Bannister said: “The lagoon does appeal to me as the surf here is limited to winter, and by the pier you have to book slots. However, I think having an attraction like this will bring a lot more traffic, and seems a bit silly when we are so close to the sea.”
She went on to say that attractions like these can be expensive, so it would depend on who they market it towards as to whether younger people would go.
James Sharratt from Bournemouth University Surf Society said: “I think it is necessary as the waves in Bournemouth are not the best, so providing a regular surf would be amazing, as well as providing more jobs and getting more people interested in surfing.”