New Center Parcs approved

A controversial planning application to build a £200m Center Parcs holiday village in a Bedfordshire forest has been approved by the Government.

Secretary of state for communities and local government Hazel Blears granted outline planning permission for the company’s fifth complex, even though Mid Bedfordshire District Council rejected the plans last summer. Center Parcs chief executive Martin Dalby said: “We are delighted that planning approval has been granted for our fifth Center Parcs. The new Center Parcs village near Woburn will generate significant local economic benefit including the creation of new jobs and further investment into the region.” Blear made her decision at the end of a public inquiry that was held after Center Parcs appealed the council’s decision. The holiday village will feature 700 forest villas surrounding a new lake. Parts of the forest will be adjusted to allow the resort’s guest to enjoy outdoor activities such as cycling, golf and archery. LDA Design is the master-planner for the site and carried out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) including landscape, visual, forestry and recreational assessments of the forest, which helped to influence the approval decision. LDA Design partner Alister Kratt, who acted as an expert witness on landscape, EIA and master-planning during the inquiry, said: “The proposals represent a sympathetic response to the site, reflecting the design team’s integrated working approach and an experienced and committed client. Warren Wood is the second forest village that LDA Design has been involved with and we are delighted to have contributed to the successful outcome for Center Parcs. We now look forward to assisting Center Parcs with implementing the village.” The site will feature two main buildings by Holder Mathias Architects which will incorporate a swimming pool, a sports halls, a spa and a hotel. Center Parcs already has holiday villages at Longleat, Wiltshire, Oasis Whinfell in the Lake District, Sherwood in Nottinghamshire and Elveden in Suffolk.

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