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Plan to turn reservoir near Darwen into boating lake

TRANQUIL Blue Lagoon

TRANQUIL Blue Lagoon

First published in North Turton

THE new owners of the Blue Lagoon want to turn the popular beauty spot into a boating lake, complete with cafe and visitors centre.

Blue Lagoon Heritage, which own the site, has so far invested “significant sums” making improvements to the reservoir.

Plans are at an early stage, but have already hit problems as the reservoir is on greenbelt land, which has led to “concerns” from councillors who would need to agree the proposals.

The lagoon — officially known as Wards Reservoir — was drained in June as its new owners worked to bring it up to scratch.

It was drained for the first time in May last year after the Environment Agency said it was a flood risk, sparking outrage from neighbours.

A campaign was launched to save the Blue Lagoon.

The plot of land was sold in September 2010 to the newly formed Blue Lagoon Heritage for £50,000.

A further £100,000 is needed to complete improvements and £10,000 to £15,000 a year is needed to maintain it.

A spokesman for the group said: “We are trying to save a popular landmark and make it more attractive for families to visit.

“Our aim is to make this a selffunding venture with a cafe and visitors centre, and also to have rowing boats on the water for families to enjoy.”

The group had talks with Blackburn with Darwen Council in January where they put forward their ideas.

They met again with council representatives last week and talks are on going.

Railton Hirst, who started a online campaign to save the Blue Lagoon on a social networking site, said the 7,000-strong Facebook group would back the proposals.

He added: “What the new owners are planning is remarkable “This won’t cost the council a penny.”

Cllr Eileen Entwistle, lead member for regeneration, said: “We have not refused the plans outright but do have some concerns that the site is on greenbelt land and is adjacent to a County Heritage site.

"We have asked the owners to return with a more detailed proposal for further discussions and we can take it from there.”

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