11:45AM, Friday 11 May 2018
Legoland’s plans to build a holiday village on greenbelt land have been given the go-ahead by councillors.
The resort outlined its ambition to build up to 450 holiday lodges and a new ‘2019 attraction’ zone during a meeting of the Borough Wide Development Management Panel last night.
The application had been recommended for refusal by council officers due to concerns over the harm the holiday village would cause to veteran trees on the site.
Ingrid Fernandes, the theme park’s strategic director, told councillors at Windsor Guildhall that Legoland was at a crossroads in terms of its long-term vision.
She said: “We can either diversify our offer in line with the council’s strategy to get visitors to stay longer and spend more locally.
“Or we can ramp up our day visitor strategy but as we know, this does not meet the council’s priorities.”
Cllr Leo Walters told the meeting that the council could not keep prioritising its economic ambitions over the protection of the greenbelt.
He said: “It’s always economics that seem to win the day and I think that’s a shame.
“If you go along that path for too long you ruin the very place that you cherish.”
After voting against a proposal to refuse the application, councillors decided to give the plans the green light, subject to conditions being agreed upon between planning officers and the resort.
Cllr Jack Rankin (Con, Castle Without) said: “It would be perverse if the one opportunity we had to invest in short-term accommodation was rejected.
“We need to do much more in the Royal Borough to realise the tourist potential we have.”
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