Cotswold Water Park
The existing Cotswold Water Park is somewhat fragmented, and there is no significant body of water amongst the many small lakes. Getting a sense of the overall offer and access to different areas is difficult. Alongside the development of a Cotswold Airport, there is an opportunity to turn the Cotswold Water Park into an internationally recognised tourism destination. Development of waterside housing has provided permanent and tourist accommodation, and several leisure activities are available. The lakes have created habitats for wildfowl and some areas have been set aside as nature reserves. The Thames/Severn and Stroudwater Canal passes through the Park and could provide waterway connectivity to a national network.
Plans for the Cotswold Water Park in 2050 would include a re-design of the existing lakes to create a larger single body of water surrounded by smaller lakes that could be explored and used as a coherent whole, whilst maintaining and expanding the existing range of leisure uses. The development would include a 1,000-bed hotel of 5-star quality, with conferencing and meeting facilities. Gloucestershire lacks large hotels suitable for major international conferences. The hotel facility, together with the Cotswold Airport, would provide a resource that would boost the international reputation of the county’s leading business sectors and bring the market to Gloucestershire. It would enhance the capacity of local higher education providers to host large academic research conferences in emerging fields related to health and cyber-security arising from the Super City developments.
Access to the wider county and beyond would be maximised by related development of the nearby Thames/Severn and Stroudwater canal networks. The canal network already provides interconnecting footpaths stretching from the Thames at Lechlade through Stroud to the River Severn, in turn linking with the Gloucester/Sharpness Canal to the city. This network would be further developed for walkers and cyclists, including potentially opening navigable stretches of the canals for barge travel, and exploration by canoe and kayak. This would form part of a strategic tourism development, marketing, and management plan for the whole county, encompassing the wider Cotswolds, market towns, Forest of Dean and Severn Vale, and the Super City, providing a range of tourism and leisure opportunities.