Booming Bowness - multi-million pound projects to blooming community schemes
PUBLISHED: 23:32 15 July 2012 | UPDATED: 21:37 20 February 2013
Everything from multi-million pound projects to blooming community schemes are boosting this pretty Lakeland town. Emma Mayoh reports <br/>PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOHN COCKS
Bowness seems to have it all,but men and women areworking away in the background to make this gateway to the Lakes even more appealing. And its not without a little controversy.
Bowness is rarely out of the spotlight. Its recent involvement in the London 2012 Festival and the fact its thevenue for the Great North Swim give it the sort of exposure many holiday towns crave.
But plans are now underway to bring more change and, say the developers, make its future even more secure.
At Windermere Marina Village, whichwelcomes around 11,000 guests a year and has more than 400 moorings, a 3.5 million state-of-the-art quayside bar and restaurant complex will specialise in serving local delicacies. It will also see thecreation of luxury apartments and waterside penthouses, due for completion at the start of 2013.
Dan Fairweather, marina manager, said: We want to provide first class facilities for our customers but also for the local community as well as the tourists. We want those people to come and enjoy the marina experience.
One trip here and people want to come back and that means more money going into the local economy. We feel confident this investment will help secure our future for years to come.
On the other side of Bowness, another multi-million pound project is under way. Planning permission was recently granted for a 600 capacity convention centre on the lake front at the Low Wood Bay Hotel. The new building, which will be located on part of the Low Wood Bay Watersports Centre site, is being built by English Lakes Hotels, owners of the hotel.
The world class convention centre will host exhibitions, concerts, weddings and dinners as well as conferences and trade shows. As you would expect, the news has not been universally welcomed because of concerns about increased traffic and its affect on the shoreline. But it is hoped that the building, which is expected to be open by 2015, will also fill a long-established need for a major conference centre in South Lakeland.
Tim Berry, director of English Lakes Hotels which own Low Wood, said: We want this building to be a wonderful asset to the area, creating jobs and attracting business leaders and organisations from all over the country.
The building has been designed with consideration of its surroundings and it will have features including an innovative water source heat pump.
We also hope that many people will arrive at the convention centre by boat from places like Bowness and Ambleside, putting money into those areas and cutting down on traffic. By having such a large capacity facility there will also be a boost into hotels, restaurants and other businesses.
Changes have also been seen over the past few years at nearby Brockhole. A new floating jetty has been built so the large Windermere steamers can stop there. There is also restoration work on the gardens and it is also hoped in the future that the original house, once the home of a wealthy Victorian family, will be brought back into use.
But the newest development at the Lake District National Park site has been the opening of Tree Top trek, a new aerial adventure course.
It is the brainchild of Mike Turner and Nick Moriarty, who originally designed this sporting activity for Center Parcs. They have invested 350,000 in the venture.
Mike said: I live in the Lake District and have been looking for somewhere to do this for a while. We want as many people as possible to visit us but we do also hope that us being here will bring more people to Bowness and the Lake District in general.
But it isnt just big business that is doing their bit to help the tourist town. Locals are currently working hard to secure a coveted prize in the Britain in Bloom awards.
It is the first time they have been nominated for the accolade and members of the Bowness in Bloom committee have been have been sprucing up the town ready for the judges on August 2nd.
Adrian Faulkner, a member of the committee and secretary for the Windermere and Bowness Chamber of Trade, said: We are already proud recipients of awards from Cumbrian in Bloom but to have a Britain in Bloom award will put Bowness well and truly on he map.
An innovative approach to nature isbeing used at Goodly Dale Community Primary School. For six years they have adopted a Forest School ethos which uses outdoor learning to boost a childs education inside the classroom. All of the pupils spend time in the schools own forest, exploring and undertaking tasks designed to develop confidence and teach new skills.