A new £25 million surf park is to be built in the landlocked West Midlands after planning chiefs gave the project the green light.
Councillors from North Warwickshire unanimously consented to the Emerge Surf Birmingham project which will be built on 15 acres of vacant land west of Coleshill town centre.
First unveiled last summer, the project is set to create 100 jobs and bring up to £21 million in economic benefit to the region by attracting 250,000 visitors per year.
Facilities there will include a 5.4-acre surf lagoon and surf school, outdoor heated swimming pool, hub building, fitness studio and children’s play area.
The operator will work in partnership with national governing body Surfing England to deliver tuition and charity Surf Life Saving Great Britain on a range of courses for water safety.
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The park is also partnering with The Wave Project to deliver therapy through surfing to local children suffering with mental health issues.
Professional surfers Grant Baker, Peony Knight and Luke Dillon are acting as ambassadors for the project alongside 1984 Olympic javelin gold medallist Tessa Sanderson.
Steve Price, founder and chief executive of London-based Emerge Surf, said: “Our aim is to bring a slice of the ocean to Birmingham, creating a haven for landlocked surfers and those wanting to try the sport for the first time.
“I’m thrilled to see such resounding backing from North Warwickshire Borough Council, recognising our vision and being minded to support the project.
“We’re excited to enter the next phase in our plan to deliver a wave park that will be a huge asset to the region and its already renowned visitor economy.
“It will provide a world-class experience for surfers of all levels, delivering a positive social impact while supporting mental and physical wellbeing.
“This is alongside creating new jobs, boosting tourism and elevating the region’s reputation as a sport and leisure destination.”
Groundworks are due to start on site by the end of this year with a planned opening in early 2022, subject to the development being referred to the secretary of state.
Coun David Wright, leader of North Warwickshire Borough Council, added: “We are all keen to see our economy bounce back from the covid-19 outbreak and this is a major boost for our economy, particularly the very hard-pressed leisure and tourist sector.
“This will also boost physical activity levels in our area and there is an extensive community programme being worked up to include communities and schools.
“We are looking forward to this project progressing and for North Warwickshire to become famous not just as a centre for cycling and golf but also for surfing.”