Alton Towers founder’s bid for five-star holiday resort in Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 06:00 11 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:18 11 July 2020
Archant, Norfolk 2017
The man behind Alton Towers has unveiled an ambitious vision for a five-star holiday resort in Norfolk.
John Broome, the founder of the Staffordshire theme park, and Grosvenor Parks Ltd, want to transform Haveringland Hall Country Park, near Cawston, into a luxury park.
But the proposals have been been met with anger from people living nearby over fears it will “destroy” the community.
Plans submitted to Broadland District Council show the site would include tipis, treehouses and log cabins with room to accommodate 280 families and suggest it would generate £2m a year for the local economy.
The site currently consists of a coach house and a host of existing holiday lettings and static caravans.
In just over a week more than 1,000 people have signed a petition, launched by Nigel Boldero from School Road in Haveringland, to stop the development.
There also are around 100 comments from the public on the planning application - including a person from Australia.
They fear the resort will “destroy” the community and have concerns over road safety, damage to the natural environment and the well-being of current residents.
Mr Boldero, 66, said: “The negative impacts far outweigh any economic argument. For example, there are road safety issues as there would be around 1000 traffic movements a day in or out of the site. And the large lake will be virtually destroyed, along with a large part of ancient woodland.”
Mr Broome said he hoped to create a “distinctive, five-star holiday destination”, with a range of holiday accommodation which would differentiate it from other similar sites.
He said the development would create a large number of jobs, increase spending in the local economy and help “increase the profile of Norfolk as a holiday destination”.
“We do recognise the sensitivity of the location,” he said. “Our plans will carefully increase the number of accommodation units within the estate, giving those staying on site, and those already living there, access to a range of supporting services and facilities, while at the same time ensuring that any environmental harm is mitigated or managed.”
He said it had been created as a sustainable development which would bring environmental improvements to the site as a whole, and said habitat management and ecology mitigation plans aimed to ensure a “net gain in the biodiversity of the site”.
He added that facilities would be provided for the use of existing residents on the site, and that a transport statement said the nearby roads were “more than capable of accommodating traffic” from the park.
One person who lives on a lodge on site said: “It is a quiet, close community, which would be destroyed should these plans be approved.
“Many of the residents have retired to this park and therefore the massive proposed change into a bustling holiday resort is out of character with the current park, the very quiet and rural area, and would result in extreme disturbance to the current residents including me.”
The person from Australia, who lives in Tamborine Mountain in Queensland, said: “I am not a local [taxpayer], in fact, I live 9,400 miles away but five generations of my family have owned land in Haveringland. This application is not in keeping with this historic area.”
Concerns were also raised over the safety of potential holidaymakers.
A spokesperson for Winchestonians Shoot Syndicate, which has permission to shoot over the land to the north and east of the site, said: “This land is shot over all year. We have grave concerns over the safety consequences of holidaymakers wondering into the wood with no awareness of the presence of shooting activities and how to stay safe in such an environment.”
However, one person who lives on the site supported the plans and said: “Incidentally despite being in our mid 70s and nature lovers, both I and my husband totally support this application and hope for a positive outcome.”
It is not the first time Mr Broome has submitted a controversial planning application.
People in Cornwall objected to a £180m “six-star” holiday resort and theme park, named Camel Creek, but plans were given the go ahead by the council in 2016.
Grosvenor Parks Ltd have been contacted for comment.
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