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Alton Towers resort expansion plans

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: March 17, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

Alton Towers.

Alton Towers.

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A top tourist attraction in the Staffordshire Moorlands is planning a major investment at its site which will see the expansion of holiday accommodation and facilities at the premises.

Alton Towers Resort has submitted a planning application to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council to build 61 double lodges, 10 tree houses with associated restaurant and service buildings, 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 proposed development will cover an area of 3.95 hectares (9.7 acres) which is currently grassland used for overflow car park during peak times.

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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 design and access statement which has been produced on behalf the applicant, Merlin Attractions Operations Limited by Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners of London, said: "The lodges have been designed to form clusters with the proposed play areas at the centre. "The restaurant is located in the centre of the development to act as the central hub where check-in and arrivals will occur.

"The standard and accessible lodges will both have a maximum height of four metres and the tree houses will be raised on stilts, which will vary in height depending on the slope of the land.

"The tree houses will have a maximum height of approximately 10 metres from the base to the maximum height of the eaves.

"The overall design of the proposed development has been carefully considered to provide a unique experience for visitors.

"It will complement existing themed structures within the theme park, while also having a minimal impact on surrounding trees and views beyond the park's boundaries."

The lodges and the development have been themed to reflect a traditional lodge of children's fairy tales.

District councillor for the area, Arthur Forrester, said: "It is a good thing to encourage people to stay overnight and could help to reduce traffic flow.

"The plans are better than a previous one as it is nearer to the hotel and has low level lightening.

"I have met with both the chairman of Alton and Farley Parish councils to preview the plans and we are of the opinion they are acceptable. However the plans have yet been discussed by the parish councils, so their views are not yet known.

"The idea of increasing overnight stay is good for the area."

It is expected that a decision will be made by planners within the next eight to 12 weeks.

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