The UK government has rejected a £5.6 million funding bid from the developers of the planned Visions of China theme park, although the project is still active.
The total cost of Visions of China, which would see a former opencast coal mine near Rotherham converted into a tourist attraction, is estimated at £110 million. Its backers had hoped to secure a slice of this from the government's Regional Growth Fund, but the application has been declined.
Despite the rejection, a key member of the consortium told the Yorkshire Post that other funding sources are still being pursued. Peter Moore, a former Alton Towers marketing executive, said: "We're moving ahead. We're putting our toe in the water in terms of talking to funders." However, Moore did concede that the lack of UK government funding could hurt the ability of Visions of China to attract support from the Chinese government.
The project has the backing of Rotherham Council, which is keen to see the proposed site undergo redevelopment. Visions of China would include a hotel, shops and restaurants alongside more exotic attractions such as a Shaolin Pagoda, a hotel and a "wellbeing centre". It would sit on a site next to Rother Valley Country Park, which already has outline planning permission for a large leisure scheme (the abandoned Yes! complex).
The Campaign to Protect Rural England is battling the proposals, claiming that the the theme park would not fit with the character of the local area.