Hangloose Adventure reveals plans for an inflatable aqua park at Bluewater Shopping Centre
An inflatable water park could be coming to Bluewater.
Hangloose Adventure, which runs a series of adrenaline-fuelled attractions at the Greenhithe shopping centre, near Dartford, is behind the latest plans.
It is described as “a thrilling and fun-filled aquatic playground” with “vibrant inflatable structures” which offer a combination of “novelty, physical challenge, and refreshing water-based activities”.
A promotion describes the location as “nestled amidst the serene waters of Kent” despite it being billed as “London’s best lakeside watercourse”.
Those keen to conquer “towering water slides” and navigate “tricky obstacle courses” can take out an annual membership for £100 on the firm’s website.
The aqua park would be located in the lake underneath the adventure company’s existing zipwire attraction, which runs from a 40-metre chalk cliff and drops into the shopping centre's grounds.
However, the proposals are still subject to planning approval from Dartford council.
Previous plans for an inflatable aqua park in a different part of Bluewater were scrapped in March 2021.
Those proposals, submitted by company Aqua Parcs, included the creation of nine 20ft containers and three 40ft containers to accompany the attraction, which would have lasted between July and October this year.
But it was met with fierce criticism from local people and councillors who feared it would ruin a "tranquil" green space used by locals during lockdown and permanently harm wildlife and eco-diversity.
However, Dartford Green party councillor Laura Edie said she has been assured by the shopping centre’s bosses the new aqua park proposals will not interfere with the nature around the lakes.
She said: “I have spoken to the centre director for Bluewater and he has reassured me that Hangloose's new plans for the aqua park do not involve it being located on our beautiful nature trail.”
Instead, she has been told it will be created on a part of the lake beneath the zip wire, which is not accessible to the public and where there is “little in the way of wildlife”.
But Greenhithe resident Lisa Ayres, who has been visiting the nature trail for years, is furious about the plans.
She said: “I hope it doesn’t happen. Leave it for a place of peace and quiet for us locals and the wildlife that have lived there for years.
The latest aqua park plans are scheduled to open in autumn 2024 but no official plans have been submitted yet.
A spokesperson for Hangloose Adventure said: “We continuously explore ways to introduce fresh and thrilling adventures to Hangloose Adventure.
“We anticipate sharing more information about upcoming activities in the near future.”
Bluewater, which is managed by property developers and investment company Landsec, attracts millions of visitors per year.
In 2021, it partnered with Hangloose to open England's longest and fastest zip wire.
Since then, Hangloose has also launched other adrenalin-fuelled attractions at the quarry site including “Europe’s biggest Giant Swing”, “Britain’s only outdoor skydive machine” and “England’s longest Skywire”.
Earlier this year, visitors to Bluewater were told to “watch this space” as plans put forward by another company were approved to erect a huge sports air dome in the middle of a car park.
It will include a full five-a-side football pitch which can be sub-divided into two smaller ones, a small food and drink area, a retail area to buy merchandise and a number of football-related skill games.
James Waugh, centre director at Bluewater, said: "We are always looking at how we can add new and exciting additions to the line-up at Bluewater.
“We hope to be able to share more details about future plans for the centre very soon.”