Reservoir watersports hub and restaurant will make site ‘must-go-to’ tourism hub

An artist's impression of the new 80-seat restaurant and watersports facility at King's Mill Reservoir. Image Ashfield District Council
By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

A major new watersports centre and 80-seat restaurant will make King’s Mill Reservoir a “must-go-to” Nottinghamshire tourism site, councillors have said.

Ashfield District Council’s planning committee approved the plans during a meeting on Wednesday (February 1).

The facilities will act as a replacement for the former Sutton-in-Ashfield Sailing Club, which closed last year after a longstanding battle over rent.

The club had sailed on the popular reservoir for more than 60 years but could not come to an agreement with the authority over its fees.

Now land previously used by the sailing club will be transformed into a watersports hub featuring a range of outdoor activities.

The Ashfield Independent-led authority unveiled its full application for the site in October last year.

In place of the sailing club will be a new two-storey building featuring a restaurant on the upper floor overlooking the reservoir.

It will couple with the watersports facility on the ground floor and sits next to Nottinghamshire County Council’s Mill Adventure Base outdoor centre.

The Mill Adventure Base, at King’s Mill Reservoir in Sutton-in-Ashfield

Council papers confirm the restaurant will feature a kitchen, bar area, indoor and outdoor seating and toilets.

The sailing and watersports centre will include changing rooms, a boat yard, storage, a training and meeting room and other facilities for outdoor activities.

Two secure yards for 55 small boats and 12 large boats would also be installed for activities like sailing, paddleboarding and kayaking.

Members of the authority’s planning committee approved the plans with eight votes in favour and one abstention.

Speaking during the meeting, Councillor Arnie Hankin (Ash Ind), who represents Selston, said: “It’s brilliant and I think the whole design is fantastic.

Ashfield District Council’s headquarters

“It really is in keeping and it has fantastic car parking spaces. This will be a site to visit, a must-go-to and will draw such a wide area to Ashfield.

“It’s great that we’re investing in Ashfield and there will be new jobs brought in.”

Cllr Rachel Madden (Ash Ind), the council’s cabinet member for leisure, added: “This is going to be a great enhancement, not just to Ashfield but the benefits will be felt in Mansfield and even into Derbyshire.

“People will be able to travel to this and it should turn into one of the top spots in the county.”

As well as the watersports facilities, the new hub will also offer open-water swimming.

However, the approval of the plans comes just weeks after a separate swimming club on the reservoir closed until the summer after “erratic” water quality tests.

Love Open Water confirmed last month that it had taken the “difficult decision” to close while further tests are conducted.

In a notice to customers, the organisation said: “As part of our safety procedures, we carry out water testing regularly at our venue and all Love Open Water venues.

“Recent test results for Mill Waters have been erratic so we have made the difficult decision to close this venue until the summer.

“We have not taken this decision lightly as we understand the impact this closure will have on our swimming community.”

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