The proposed Bedford Rowing Lake, which was granted planning permission in 2006, will form an important and major component of the BRVP. The proposed rowing and watersports lake will be about 2.3km long and more than 100m wide (with a total area of between 25 and 30 hectares) to allow the necessary space and meet requirements for training to Olympic standards, but could be delivered in phases.
It will be of a natural design, having varied edges with substantial marginal vegetation and backwater connections with the ‘floodplain forest’ mosaic of woodlands, wetlands and grasslands to the north, maximising its ecological value and softening its impact on the landscape. The construction of the Bedford Rowing Lake will necessitate the diversion of the Elstow Brook.
This will provide an opportunity to increase the Brook’s capacity and length, restore natural features and link these with the ‘floodplain forest’ habitats and the River Great Ouse. The Bedford Rowing Lake and associated essential development is supported by policy LR4 and, when built, will constitute a new activity hub within the BRVP, providing a focus for sport and more active recreation.