A £6m development to transform a local fishery into a holiday park and attract more tourists to the Ribble Valley should be completed in the next six months.
Work has already started to turn Pendle View Fisheries, which is situated off the A59 opposite the Barrow Brook Business Village, into a holiday complex housing 33 lodges, 10 glamping pods and a pub.
The brainchild of Essex-based investor Tony Canning, 10 people are already employed locally to work on the site, and, once complete, the new holiday park will create around 20 new jobs.
Confident the project will provide a massive boost to the local tourism industry, entrepreneur Tony said: “There are 22 million people who are within a one-and-a-half hour’s drive of this site.
“And with the advent of things like Brexit and airline companies going bust, holiday parks are becoming more and more popular with the number of those people wanting to holiday in the UK increasing significantly.
“The Ribble Valley is one of the unsung beauty spots of the country and situated underneath the beautiful Pendle Hill and next to a lake, the holiday park couldn’t be in a better location.
“Once the holiday park is open we will circulate a leaflet showcasing to our guests what the Ribble Valley has to offer. We want to encourage people to come here and to go out and visit the local countryside.”
The park’s 33 lodges are currently being built in Carlisle to a high specification.
A mixture of two and three bedroom units, the lodges will have marble bathrooms and kitchens, their own garden areas, parking and other luxury features like hot tubs.
Including the private parking areas for the lodges there will be total of 100 car parking spaces on the site. As part of the development an existing building on the site will also be transformed into a pub.
“I want this to look like a traditional country pub that has been there since the 1900s,” said Tony, who added that as well as booking a lodge for a holiday or short break, people will also be able to buy them.
Lodges will be priced at around £250,000, while a three night short break will cost around £500.
An ecological wetland area has also been incorporated into the holiday park’s design and every effort will be made so that the lodges blend in with the local environment.
“We want it to be high quality and green, in every sense of the word,” said Tony, who added that the park, access to which will be via a slip road, will have low level lighting.
Built between 1843 and 1893, the fishery was a supplementary reservoir to what became the Whalley Abbey Print Works. It closed in 1930 and remained empty until it was used and re-opened by the army during the Second World War.
It closed in 1972 and was later re-developed as a fisheries which became popular with anglers.
Tony’s company Lodge Inns (Pendle) Ltd is working on the project with Bratherton Park Design Consultants and Bourne Leisure.
Trout will swim in the holiday park’s two lakes with holidaymakers given the opportunity to fish.
When the site was sold it is believed that a large carp called Cedric fetched a price of £15,000.
Local parish councillors have welcomed the investment and the potential tourism boost from the development, but did raise concerns when consulted about the application about access to the site. They also requested that a water management scheme for the ponds was agreed to reduce the flood risk downstream in the village.