WATERSPORTS fans will be able to wakeboard and swim outdoors after plans to transform a Basildon lake were approved.

Sports firm JVP Leisure has been given the green light to turn Aquatels lake behind Festival Leisure Park, off Cranes Farm Road, in Basildon, into a haven for thrillseekers.

Wakeboarders will be pulled around the lake on cables suspended from seven pylons and the waters will be set aside for swimming and fishing at specific times.

Kitesurfer Jonathan Myers-Lamptey, 32, is looking forward to trying out the new course once it has been built.

He said the wakeboarding lake will encourage new people to take up the sport and offers local watersports fans an alternative to surfing off Southend’s popular beaches.

Mr Myers-Lamptey, who grew up in Westcliff and kite-surfs at Shoebury's East Beach most weekends, said: “Wakeboarding is a good introduction to surfing and other watersports because you’re pulled round in a circle on a pully, so it’s more controlled than going out in the sea.

“It’s also more practical, because you don’t have to walk out to the sea. It sometimes takes me 45 minutes to walk across the sandbanks with my kitesurfing gear and you don’t have to battle against the elements like you do on the beach.

“Southend’s really popular for surfing. There were 75 kite-surfers out on East Beach one weekend this summer, but there isn’t much for watersports fans in Basildon, so this will be great.”

New offices, a floating walkway and changing rooms will also be built at the centre, which is expected to be similar to the watersports lake at Thorpe Park, in Chertsey, Surrey. When the plans were revealed in September, fishermen who used the lake launched a campaign to continue angling in the waters. JVP Leisure agreed to allow fishing to take place at designated times when wakeboarders weren’t on the water.

Basildon Council officers have approved the plans, on the condition the public will still be able to use the public footpath running along Waterfront Walk.