PLANS for a holiday resort at Gulliver’s World in Old Hall have been approved despite hundreds of objections.

An application proposing the £5.6 million extension of the site, on Shackleton Close, came before the council’s development management committee during its virtual meeting this evening, Wednesday.

It included woodland lodges and a caravan site, along with blueprints for a pet resort, spa, staff headquarters and a storage workshop.

However, a total of 673 objections were received following fears over the impact on traffic, wildlife, noise and house prices in the area.

Along with approving the major development, committee members also passed an application proposing the change of use of the land to allow it to be used for holiday chalets, static caravans and lodges.

READ MORE >> Controversial Gulliver’s World holiday resort plans approved

Gulliver’s says the Woodland Retreat will help secure hundreds of existing jobs, create new opportunities and give a significant boost to the local economy.

Warrington Guardian:

Gulliver's World

Cllr Bob Barr told members he sees an area of woodland that is poorly used and utilised on the Gulliver’s estate, adding that it is an ‘enabling development’ that could improve the woodland in the area.

But Cllr Peter Carey expressed serious concerns over the proposals.

He said: “What I would say is I’m already disappointed at the impact that Gulliver’s has had on the area.”

He also informed the committee that he made his way to the access point at Shackleton Close to have a look at that particular area.

“When you consider that we are proposing bringing caravans in here, the road just isn’t wide enough to accommodate large vehicles,” he added.

Warrington Guardian:

Cllr Peter Carey

“I would say that the present access is inadequate as far as vehicles goes.”

County Planning Ltd was the planning consultant for the applications.

Director Dan Matthewman said: “It’s a huge success to achieve approval of both applications.

“The level of public interest in the proposals has been substantial.

“We’ve worked tirelessly with the project team and council officers to achieve a scale and mix of development that respects the surrounding area and appropriately balances economic, social and environmental considerations.

“This is an important development for Gulliver’s, but also for the whole town that will provide jobs and economic benefits for many years to come.”

Julie Dalton, MD of Gulliver’s World, has also responded to the decisions.

She said: “The pandemic has been a challenging time for our operations.

“Social distancing measures look set to be in place for some time yet and being able to provide visiting families with clean self-contained accommodation is a really important part of our business plan going forward.

“The permission aligns our Warrington resort with the range of accommodation and activities on offer at our other three resorts and will help secure over 220 jobs and create 41 new jobs in future.

“We are very pleased with the outcome.”

It is hoped that construction work will start in spring 2021.

First announced in autumn 2019, the development will offer unique short breaks for families with young children including themed group accommodation, woodland walks, a camping meadow, children’s woodland activity zone, woodland lodges and a spa and relaxation suite.

The scheme also comprises a new HQ for staff training and admin support.

The 5.8ha Woodland Retreat will expand on the existing accommodation at Gulliver’s World Theme Park Resort but will be under the Gulliver’s Glades brand, with focus on providing holidays in a woodland setting.

The decision to approve the plans came after a proposal to reject the scheme failed to gain enough support in a vote.