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Plans for multi-million pound Legoland expansion recommended for refusal by planning officers

Legoland’s plans for a multi-million pound expansion are being recommended for refusal by council planning officers.

The resort wants to build a holiday village, which could include 450 lodges for overnight stopovers, and create its ‘2019 attraction’ which could feature three new rides.

But planning officers are trying to block the development due to concerns over the harm the holiday village could cause to trees.

Their report said: “The proposal would have a significant impact on the openness of the greenbelt and would result in significant encroachment into the countryside.”

Legoland has argued that the economic, social and community benefits of the development mean the application should be accepted as ‘very special circumstances’.

Ingrid Fernandes, strategic development director at Legoland, said: “Our proposals have been carefully designed to be sensitive to the neighbouring area.

“They have been subject to extensive community consultation, as reflected in the overwhelmingly positive feedback provided to the local authority.”

She added that, following feedback from residents, the resort plans to build visitor accommodation away from residential areas.

“As one of the most prominent businesses locally, Legoland is committed to making the required investments for a sustainable long-term future and would urge councillors to share our vision of continued success in our Royal Borough,” she said.

In October 2015, the council went head-to-head with the theme park at a planning inquiry after councillors refused an application for an indoor haunted house ride.The decision was later overturned, costing the taxpayer £250,000.

In its latest application, Legoland also hopes to redevelop its entrance in the area known as ‘The Beginning’ by building a new ticket and sales collection area as well as two new queue lines.

The application also includes plans to convert the resort’s buildings on St Leonard’s Farm into storage and maintenance areas.

Legoland’s plan is due to be discussed by the Borough Wide Development Management Panel when it meets at Windsor Guildhall on Thursday at 7pm.

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