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Floating eco-resort

Norfolk Farm Leisure plans to transform an unused quarry in Norfolk into a £35m resort complete with lodges, treehouses and the UK’s first floating clubhouse.


NORFOLK Farm Leisure believes its proposals for an eco-wellness resort will allow more visitors and locals to enjoy this part of Norfolk in East Anglia, and will also create hundreds of local jobs, while providing an estimated £8m boost to the local economy. 

The 80-hectare Ashwicken Lake site is close to the Norfolk Broads and combines woodlands and wetlands with the one km square lake at its centre. 


Baca Architects, specialists in floating and flood resilient design, has submitted a scheme to transform a former quarry lake and surrounding land into a unique eco-wellness resort centred on waterside living and water-based recreation. 


A £35m investment will see the site reimagined as a destination for staycations and daytrips. At its heart, the resort will feature the UK’s first floating clubhouse encircled by 132 contemporary lodges, all located on or near the water’s edge, and each with a mooring. These lodges will be arranged in clusters, interspersed with new planting, trees, follies and water taxi jetties to create different characters across the resort. 

There will also be 22 treehouses in the woodlands. A range of water-based pursuits will be available, including rowing, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding as well as opportunities for open water swimming, while for those preferring to stay on land, tennis courts and areas for ball games and archery have also been designed into the landscape along with a climbing wall and children’s play area. 


Floating on the water, the 1,500sq m clubhouse will offer a spa with swimming pool, a café/restaurant and lakeside pool facilities as well as alfresco waterside dining. All facilities will be open to both staying guests as well as local people. 

Located to one corner of the lake, will be a floating island of 40-flatted units in a design inspired by the water lilies whose large leaves float on the water surface. 


The proposals target zero-carbon both in use and production, employing materials of low-bodied energy, high levels of thermal insulation and building airtightness, natural ventilation and offsite prefabrication as well as on-site energy generation and waste treatment. The sourcing and durability of the materials used, potential for recycling and the distance to site were all considered within the design. The project has been designed to a BREEAM ‘Very good’ rating. 


Space is allocated on the site for a solar array and the lake is utilized as a source of renewable energy. 

Areas of nature conservation will deliver a biodiversity net gain and the entire site will be a car free environment with the focus on walking, cycling and transport by electric water taxis. 


“People have always been attracted to water for relaxation, exercise and rejuvenation. At Ashwicken Lake, these life-enhancing qualities will be supported by a design that will reinforce the engagement of both guests and visitors in an exceptional experience. This will be a resort where you can be as social or secluded as you like; a resort for all generations,” said Richard Coutts, principal of Baca Architects. 

The project is anticipated to bring 260 new jobs on-site once the resort is open.. 

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