Friday, October 13, 2017

News: Rother Valley caravan plans pitch up

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Rotherham Council continues to progress plans for the development of a caravan site within Rother Valley Country Park.

In the south-west of Rotherham on the border with Sheffield, the 750-acre country park has four artificial lakes, recreational activities and nature reserves.

Last year, Rothbiz reported that a business case was being developed for a touring caravan site in an effort to boost the income of the country park and compliment the plans approved for the £37m Gulliver's theme park on adjacent land.

The park is described as a "substantial business", with an annual turnover of around £880,000. As well as providing a range of nature and leisure activities, this year it has hosted a number of high profile events including the Swim England Open Water Festival 2017, the Powerboat GP British Championship, the National Hovercraft Racing Championship and various charity running events.

Park users have been asked their opinions on converting part of the site so that it could accommodate over 150 pitches. Pre-application advice is being sought from planners over the prospect of the draft plans which show an area of land for caravans and tents between the existing country park, golf course and the Pit House West site where approval has been gained for the Gulliver's Valley theme park.

The draft plans (pictured, below) show access close to Delves Lane on a resurfaced road which leads to the lake and park. A reception, small shop and cafe is proposed along with toilet and laundry facilities. Areas for tents, pitches and super pitches which can accommodate motorhomes are included. An adjacent area is also earmarked for an expansion of the caravan site.

Following the development of designs and financial projections for a touring caravan site, a strategic outline case was submitted in 2015 for consideration within the Council's new capital projects process. However, this was rejected during the 2016-17 budget setting process, even though the associated savings remained in place for the park. Instead, parking charges increased to £5.

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Gulliver's, the operators of theme parks in Warrington, Matlock Bath and Milton Keynes, is purchasing around 250 acres of the restored former colliery and opencast site from Rotherham Council. It is progressing plans for the first of its sites in the UK to encompass all of its major family entertainment elements in one location with new attractions exclusive to Rotherham.

The family company envisage that the new development will complement the country park and public rights of way have been incorporated within the scheme without the need for diversions. A number of courtesy footpaths have also been included which will be available for use during daylight hours.
Built over phases, details of the theme park can be seen here. It is set to include a camping and caravan site, a 100-room Gulliver's hotel and 300 woodland lodges.

The agreed Heads of Terms for the land sale included a clause enabling the Council to elect to provide camping and caravanning on the adjacent country park. Should the Council make this provision, Gulliver's has agreed that they will instead focus more on "glamping" on their site.

Rother Valley website

Images: Google Maps / RMBC


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