Major grant for The Wave surfing lake

Gazette Series: Nick Hounsfield, founder of the Wave, in fields next to where the lake will be built and an inset picture of the clubhouse (7524298) Nick Hounsfield, founder of the Wave, in fields next to where the lake will be built and an inset picture of the clubhouse (7524298)

UP to £840,000 has been offered to the UK's first inland surfing lake at Easter Compton.

The money for the £6.2 million project, called The Wave: Bristol, has come from a growth fund within the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Nick Hounsfield, co-founder of The Wave, said: “This grant is a great boost for our project and will help with some of the major infrastructure costs, and ultimately create jobs for local people.

"The LEP is hugely supportive of new, innovative businesses in the region and has been incredibly helpful to us.

" Allocating this type of funding to businesses, such as ourselves, really conveys the message that the West of England is an exciting, forward-thinking place to do business.”

The Wave won planning permission last month and the money will be earmarked to help with work such as the building of the surfing lake at the heart of the development.

That element of the project alone will create a number of jobs, such as lifeguards and surf instructors.

A total of about 50 jobs will be created at the site, ranging from chefs and waiting staff to shop managers, gardeners and wave engineers. It is also planned to develop an apprenticeship scheme.

Andrew Youl, project manager at the West of England LEP, said: “My hope is that the commitment of our funding will achieve the twin benefits of garnering further investment from private sector partners and kick starting the development of the site.”

Although welcoming the grant, those behind The Wave said they want it to be backed by private investment rather than the public purse.

Mr Hounsfield said: "The last thing we want is for the project to drain public resources because it is reliant on funding. It is crucial that it is financially and commercially sustainable for the long term.

"These funds will secure jobs and help us build the site as a legacy for the local and regional communities.

"Our business plan is robust, which is why it is attracting private investors. We are currently in advanced negotiations with several key investors and hope to be able to go public with more details in the coming weeks.”

The proposed development straddles Washingpool Farm and Over Court Farm and at its centre will be a freshwater lagoon to generate perfect surfing waves for both experienced surfers and beginners.

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