Wednesday, August 3, 2016

News: Updated Gulliver's Valley plans on show

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The same attractions, just on a different part of the site. That's the latest on the plans for the £37m Gulliver's Family Theme Park resort adjacent to Rother Valley Country Park in Rotherham.

Gulliver's, the operators of theme parks in Warrington, Matlock Bath and Milton Keynes developed an initial masterplan for the first of their sites in the UK to encompass all their major family entertainment elements in one location with new attractions exclusive to Rotherham.

The updated plans went on show as part of the consultation this week with the developers on track to submit a more detailed planning application in September.

This is the third time that Rotherham Council has sought interested from developers for the 330 acre site known as Pit House West. Outline planning approval was granted for the £350m YES! Project in 2007 and updated plans were approved in September 2010. The £118m Visions of China proposal didn't even reach the planning application stage before it was shelved in 2014.

The Council has been in discussions over the sale of the greenbelt land and plans were updated as a result of comments received at the pre-application public consultation on the development proposals and information gained during Gulliver's due diligence exercise that identified potential ground contamination on the site.

The latest proposals will see Gulliver's to buy a reduced area of the site (approximately 250 acres rather than the full 330 acres). The site of the Brookhouse Colliery included a coking works to the North West at Chesterfield Road and this land is set to be retained by the Council.
The major change to the masterplan is the proposed entrance to the scheme switching from Chesterfield Road, opposite the Beighton Link commercial development and Elmwood Farm pub, over to Mansfield Road at the North East of the site, opposite commercial units at the railway bridge at Waleswood and close to Aston Springs Farm.

The masterplan shows the park providing essentially the same scheme as previously consulted on albeit over a different development area.

The proposals for a year round destination aimed at 2 - 13 year olds include a theme park hub, woodland adventure centre, ecology and education centre, lodges, hotels and a holiday village. Expected to be built in four or five phases over 12 years, the theme park would come first and further developments would follow afterwards.

The main theme park is now in the centre of the site complete with a castle and main street plus a log flume, rapids, pirate ship, mine train, and play areas.

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A second development area to the South includes the Gulliver's Gears park - with race tracks and rollercoasters - alongside Gulliver's Glade, which features adventure play areas and rock climbing. A Farm Park is also included.

The surrounding wooded areas include the Wild West hotel and accommodation, dinosaur themed "Lost World" accommodation (pictured), space for glamping and the dream village concept offering specially designed and adapted accommodation for seriously and terminally ill children and children with special needs.

A Wilderness hotel and ecological centre are proposed around lakes in the North of the site.

A spokesperson for Gulliver's said: "We are a family firm that have been operating family theme parks for 40 years. The plans have been designed by us and we are excited that we can bring together the best parts from our existing sites in Matlock, Warington and Milton Keynes onto the 250 acre site. It is in a perfect location in terms of attracting visitors.

"We actually think the updated plans are better with the main theme park area in the centre of the site and a large central car park."

The development is expected to be funded through business profits with no borrowing requirements. It has been estimated that 255 jobs will be created on this site in addition to another 130 jobs approximately within the construction industry. Gulliver's is committed to ensuring that the supply chain is kept local.

The land sale has been approved by commissioners at the Council and will be dependent on securing planning permission. The latest agreement includes conditions that specify that a planning application from Gulliver's must be submitted by September 2016.

Further studies to assess the impact of the development on transport networks and the greenbelt will need to be submitted.

Gulliver's Valley website

Images: Gulliver's

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