Hill rolling sport is given go-ahead


A HILL rolling sport in Westwood has been given permanent planning permission after a long arduous battle by company bosses.

Planning applications to keep ‘Spheremania’ going full-time have been refused twice – with bosses appealing after the second refusal leading them to be given temporary permission to run for just last year.

But Ashfield District Council planning committee has now ruled Spheremania can have full, permanent planning permission to run their business every year.

Boss James Rybij said: “Finally they have approved it. It’s a huge relief.

“All in all we’ve been running for three years on and off with temporary planning permission so it’s peace of mind. We’re really, really happy with the outcome now.”

‘Sphereing’ or ‘zorbing’, is an extreme sport where you strap yourself into a giant ball and roll down a 300m hill at breakneck speeds of up to 30mph.

The company, which has 14 sites nationwide, operates in a field between Brinsley Hill and Yew Farm, but permission was refused by Ashfield District Council twice because of a variety of concerns about flooding, noise, and the possible affect it could have on nearby farm animals in the village.

Residents and councillors in Westwood were split in opinion on the business coming to the village full time.

While some residents and councillors complained about the site, others said the company would put Westwood on the map, attract people to the village and open up part-time jobs.

Spheremania had been operating from the greenbelt site before their appeal because of a clause in planning laws called ‘permitted development’, which meant they could use the site for 28 days in a year.

Liz Mays who represents Westwood on the Ashfield District Council planning committee said: “I am quite happy with the decision and the conditions on the application. It was a unanimous decision.”

Conditions include the Speheremania bosses put the land back the way it was when they finish, and a survey is done to check for Japanese knot weed.

The Westwood site is currently the longest run in Europe and operates in the warmer weather between April and October.

Fore more information, visit www.spheremania.com or call the booking line on 0844 800 30 45.