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A 240-bed hotel, water park and conference facility could be built at the Longleat estate in Wiltshire, creating 300 jobs, if newly-submitted plans are given the green light.
Longleat Enterprises, the commercial arm of the 465-year-old estate, has lodged plans with Wiltshire Council for a 240-bedroom hotel resort, aimed at enabling families to extend their stay at the park.
It is also proposing the construction of a water park and conferencing facilities as part of the hotel, able to cater for up to 200 delegates. Multi-purpose entertaining and ancillary buildings would also be created.
It is hoped that the water park will provide an additional all-year-round facility that will enable the business to balance the seasonal nature of the Safari and Adventure Park.
The development is expected to cost about £45m and create a number of jobs during the two-year construction phase. Once open, the new facilities will create about 300 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs and support more indirectly.
Bob Montgomery, the chief executive of Longleat Enterprises, said: “We believe Longleat is uniquely placed to own and create a tourist destination that will help sustain the Estate for future generations while being of benefit to all of the attractions within a 40-minute drive time from Warminster.
“We received a lot of support during our year-long consultation with our local communities and the key stakeholders in the county, so we are hopeful that the outline planning application currently with Wiltshire Council will be approved.”
A planning statement prepared by Savills and submitted as part of the application said: “The Hotel Resort will provide new accommodation, business conferencing and leisure facilities of a type and scale that is presently absent in the county, but with the Longleat brand and reputation, will have a profile and opportunity to be a major new tourism asset for Wiltshire.
“It will have significant economic benefits which will help to safeguard the long-term viability of the Longleat Estate, in addition to the notable number of new direct and indirect employment opportunities it will provide to help support the local, growing community.”
The estate comprises the grade I-listed stately home, the Capability Brown and Humphry Repton Heritage Park, farms, homes, waterways and woodland.
Longleat Enterprises is responsible for the management of two tourist attractions at Cheddar Gorge and Longleat’s famous Safari Park. It is expecting visitor numbers to increase from one million in 2015 to at least 1.2 million by 2023.
The business has committed to spending £3m per year over a ten-year period to support the development of the park.