A TOP Staffordshire Moorlands tourist attraction is set to expand its holiday accommodation and facilities.
Alton Towers Resort has submitted a planning application to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council to build 61 double lodges – 122 units – 10 tree houses with associated restaurant and service buildings, a play area, hard and soft landscaping, parking and drainage work.
The resort is the UKs most popular and largest theme park and brings in thousands of visitors to the Staffordshire Moorlands each year.
The application will go before members of the district council's planning committee for a final decision when they meet tomorrow, Thursday, with a recommendation for approval from officers.
The proposed 61 double lodges would be subdivided to provide 110 standard accommodation units and 12 accessible accommodation units.
An additional 10 tree houses would be located to the south of the lodges along a new access road.
Views of the tree houses from the lodges would be screened by a series of mounds proposed between the lodges and the new access road.
A report to councillors by planning officer Jane Curley said: "The proposals involve the development of an open site within the Alton and Farley Conservation Area with lodges and accommodation.
"Sixty one lodges are proposed in the central part of the site. These are modest in size and height and are arranged informally in clusters around small play areas.
"Considered in isolation, the development of this currently open land within the Conservation Area with a themed development of lodges and associated buildings could be said to be potentially harmful to its character and appearance.
"However this particular part of the Conservation Area has a varied character, including as it does the whole of the leisure and commercial development at Alton Towers. The application site lies to the east of the existing hotels in an area which is sometimes used for overspill car parking.
"As English Heritage notes, given the extent of other leisure and commercial development elsewhere in the park and the relatively low landscape significance of the application site, the proposed development could not, in this context, be construed as being harmful.
"Following negotiations with the applicant, amended plans have addressed concerns raised about the design, materials and landscaping. It is considered that the selected materials and the substantial forestry planting throughout the site will ensure that the development is successfully integrated into the Conservation Area."