New water sports centre and cafe to open at Willen Lake
Willen Lake, Milton Keynes’ most popular park has successfully secured planning permission for its next phase of improvements.
The improvements will be entirely funded by The Parks Trust, who are an independent charity that cares for green space in Milton Keynes. The income generated from activities at Willen Lake and car parking contribute towards this.
The next stage of improvements follows the success of phase one in 2017, which saw the opening of Splash ‘n’ Play, a coffee and ice cream kiosk, additional toilet facilities, and a new, surfaced car park offering an additional 300 spaces. The second phase looks to enhance visitor experience even further, taking into account feedback from customers on what improvements they would like to see.
Phase two will include the peninsula on the western side of the lake and create a vibrant promenade along the waterfront, improving public access to the water’s edge. At the tip of the peninsula will be a pair of curved buildings under a single roof, overlooking the lake. The new plans offers fantastic benefits for visitors including; a purpose- built centre for all watersports activities at the lake with modern changing rooms, showers and additional public toilets. They will also include a new café/restaurant offering indoor and al fresco dining at both ground and first floor levels, overlooking the Lake to the east and south. Both buildings will be fully accessible, with level access, lifts, accessible toilets and baby change facilities.
Furthermore, the children’s play area is being upgraded and extended, with a new secure Toddlers’ Play area located close to the Cafés outdoor seating area. Once complete the new play area at Willen Lake will have over an acre of free play offering the biggest free play area in Milton Keynes.
The design for this new building, has been influenced by the original plans for Willen Lake. In the 1970s the MK Development Corporation produced indicative design proposals for Willen Lake and the peninsula. These included a circular café with viewing terraces on two levels, as per Helmut Jacoby’s design.
Robert Wood, General Manager at Willen Lake Said: ‘We have listened to our customers and are pleased to be able to offer new facilities and amenities at Willen Lake that will enhance the customer experience further.
The creation of this new building, will bring all of our watersports under one roof and will open up the areas around the waters edge, creating a relaxing environment and allowing for spectacular views across the lake’.
Phase two of the development is due to commence in the autumn of 2019 and is scheduled to be ready for the summer of 2020. During this period the current café, wakeboarding centre and most of the play area will remain open.