Gulliver's family theme park resort's "most ambitious plan yet" will come to fruition now that the secretary of state has given Rotherham Council the green light to approve the development.
The development in South Yorkshire was granted planning permission by Rotherham Council last month. Following a 21 day period in which Sajid Javid MP, the secretary of state for communities and local government, could call-in the decision, Gulliver's has reason to celebrate.
Councillors on Rotherham Council's planning board voted unanimously to give the go-ahead for the theme park resort to be built on the 250 acre former Pithouse West colliery site in the Rother Valley. The brand new development will be a boon for the local economy with the multi-million pound project bringing hundreds of jobs to the region.
The family that has run the Gulliver's theme park business for almost 40 years is "delighted". Managing director Julie Dalton said: "After a good two years of hard work, it's absolutely wonderful to know that our vision for Gulliver's fourth UK theme park is going to become a reality. We're all absolutely delighted.
"Throughout the planning process, I and my senior staff have taken part in several consultation events around the local area, giving local residents the chance to comment on our plans. We worked closely with Rotherham Council and Highways England to ensure our planning application did not negatively impact on local access routes and amended plans to reduce the visual impact of our larger attractions. It's incredibly satisfying that local councillors voted unanimously in favour of our proposals. This is an exciting time in Gulliver's history."
As the business's fourth UK theme park project, Gulliver's Valley will bring together the best elements of their existing parks in Warrington, Matlock Bath and Milton Keynes.
Julie added: "Our Gulliver's Valley development will give the area a huge economic boost as we look to use a local supply chain and bring tourism pounds into the local economy. Add to that the number of local jobs it will create - up to 255 full time equivalent posts - and it will be a real positive for the Rother Valley community."
Gulliver's aim to open their brand-new Valley Resort in 2020 which will include a main theme park hub, with rides and attractions aimed at children aged two to 13 and their families. Gulliver's Valley will also include an indoor water play zone, a climbing centre, a glades attraction, and an education and ecology centre encompassing forest classrooms and outdoor learning adventures for young children.
Rotherham Council's cabinet member for jobs and the local economy, cllr Denise Lelliott, said the latest development was ‘great news' and paved the way for the development to go ahead.
She added: "This decision is the culmination of more than two years-worth of planning by Gulliver's, including the council agreeing to sell the land for the development to Gulliver's in 2015. We now look forward to seeing Gulliver's plans being brought to fruition.
"As well as being a fantastic facility for local families, the Valley Resort will result in a massive boost to the area and our local economy. It will bring in visitors, provide jobs for local people, and complement the existing activities at nearby Rother Valley Country Park.
"This is a family-run business with a proven track record for building and operating family entertainment developments and we are very proud and excited that Gulliver's has chosen the borough to develop their resort."
The resort will also offer family-friendly accommodation in the shape of glamping, self-catering woodland lodges and the central Lilliput Castle Hotel.
The development will also encompass Gully's Dream Village, a community where children with life threatening illnesses can be given the chance to enjoy cost-free respite in a magical environment.
In addition, nature trails, walks, outdoor gyms and woodland runs at Gulliver's Valley will be available to be used by the local community as well as visitors to the theme park.
Now that planning permission has been given, work will commence on the Pithouse West site.