Plans for a new aqua park obstacle course at Fairlands Valley in Stevenage came a step closer to fruition yesterday (Tuesday, April 2).

Stevenage Borough Council's planning committee gave permission for eight storage containers to be placed on the proposed site, which was previously home to the Sailing Centre.

The containers will include a reception, wet suit rooms, individual changing compartments, a storage room, a first aid room, and a staff room.

It is envisaged that the appearance of the containers may be softened by adding landscaping, including trellises, to the outside of them.

Aqua Parcs, who already run one obstacle course in a lake in Milton Keynes, submitted the plans for the containers earlier this year.

A planning application is not required for the inflatable course itself.

According to the planning officer's report, the course would be open in summertime only, from 10am until 6pm on weekdays and from 9am to 8pm at weekends.


The Outdoor Activity Centre and Sailing Centre, previously run by SLL, have been closed for more than a year after the council awarded its new leisure contract to Everyone Active. Previously, the council had said that they would operate the centres themselves.

Several objections to the aqua park proposals were made by members of the public, focused on disruption to the peace and quiet of the park and a possible impact on wildlife.

However, as the proposed site for the containers is already a hardstanding boat yard, the planning officer found that "there will be no loss of wildlife" arising from the containers.

The officer added that the increased park use could lead to more customers at the nearby café,  with the income generated enabling "the long-term management and upkeep of Fairlands Valley Lakes and Park and associated woodlands".

They recommended that councillors grant planning permission.