A SURF park with its own beach in a man-made lagoon, plus a world class concert venue that could attract top performers from the UK and overseas, have both been unveiled as part of plans to develop Junction 27 of the M5 in Mid Devon.
The ambitious proposal for ‘Westwood’, a 90 hectare leisure and tourist destination backed by AXA Real Estate, has the potential to create more than 3,500 jobs.
The scheme will be connected by a new foot and cycle bridge to the nearby Tiverton Parkway railway station.
Attractions alongside the surf park and concert venue are to include a range of outdoor activities in a woodland setting with a focus on cycling, a sports village, a West Country visitor centre, an artisan area featuring food and other products from the region, a lifestyle outlet village and hotels.
The flagship scheme is being designed to make Westwood the visitor gateway to Devon and Cornwall, with the West Country taking centre stage in a series of attractions, galleries and stores that showcase the finest activities and products the region has to offer.
The proposals also include plans for a commercial business park to house new to the district logistics operators.
Bob De Barr on behalf of AXA said: “This is an exceptional plan to create a national and international tourist attraction that will well and truly put Mid Devon on the map. It will be an all year round destination, vibrant and buzzing throughout the day and into the evening, whatever the weather.
“We are very excited about the surf park. It’s the centrepiece of Westwood and, alongside the concert venue and the other activities on offer, will give Mid Devon and the region a destination that is different to anything else in the UK.
“Westwood presents a unique opportunity at the gateway by road and rail to the South West peninsula. Our plans will have a tremendously positive impact on the local economy and across the entire West Country. But our focus throughout the project will also be on creating an attractive green environment on the site that incorporates the existing Devon landscape. Maintaining what is special about this area is a vital aim of the development.”
The surf park lagoon will provide consistent, high quality waves which replicate ocean surfing with conditions suited to all ages and abilities.
There will also be water and sand play parks, an event lawn and pavilion with boardwalk restaurants overlooking the lagoon.
A woodland aerial adventure park, mountain bike trail and a cycle path running around the site will utilise the local landscape and woodland, promoting the outdoor lifestyle Devon is known for.
The Westwood Resort features an 1,800 seat professional concert venue, conference centre and an associated hotel. The concert venue would provide a world class venue for music of all types, as well as the visual arts, theatre, dance, conferences and trade fairs.