Alton Towers has resubmitted its planning application to build a third on-site hotel, this time consisting of a number of small lodges.
The plans were first submitted in late 2012, but a decision was made by the resort in May 2013 not to pursue them and they were subsequently withdrawn. As is usually the case with any proposed development at Alton Towers, the lodge concept had faced fierce opposition from local residents and action groups.
Despite the challenges it faces in gaining planning consent, Alton Towers has resurrected the plans for the lodge development - albeit with a number of changes. Here's a detailed rundown of what we know about what the resort hopes will become its third accommodation option.
Update (06/05/2014): The plans have been approved, and the Enchanted Village is expected to open in 2015!
1. The location
The original 2012 plans would have seen the lodges built on a 10-acre site to the north-east of the existing Alton Towers Hotel and Splash Landings Hotel. They would have sat in a meadow surrounded by woodland, currently used for overflow parking during major events.
The location has now been moved to the field to the side of the Alton Towers Hotel, which has previously been put to use during Halloween Scarefest events and also covers around 10 acres. Let's hope the site, which is shielded by trees on three of its four boundaries, is not overrun by zombies from the Field of 1000 Screams.
2. The accommodation options
A total of 61 double lodges (each comprising two accommodation units) and 10 "treehouses" are planned. 110 of the lodges will be "standard" units, while a further 12 will be designed to be accessible to those with physical disabilities.
3. The theme
The original planning application described the development as being "based on myths and legends and the increasing popularity of children’s adventure stories and fairytales. It would conjure up "images of accommodation in a far-off magical land that one might dream of staying in on a holiday". The appearance of the buildings in the latest application appears to show that this theme has been retained.
Expect a host of quirky features, such as rounded windows, bent chimneys and strangely-shaped roofs, with giant fake mushrooms "growing" outside. The materials used to build the lodges and treehouses will blend natural materials and "rustic influences". This will include timber shingle roofs, timber doors and windows, stonework walls and uneven timber barge boards.
4. The lodges
The concept artwork above is from the original application, and shows off the typical appearance of a lodge. These are described as "entry level" accommodation, and will sleep up to 5 people. Each includes a main room with a double bed and a small seating area, a wet room with a walk-in shower and a separate sleeping area for children containing a bunk bed with a pull-out truckle bed below. At the front of each unit will be a small veranda, complete with a table and chairs.
Every lodge will have a "feature" chimney and timber fencing around the covered terraces. They will be constructed on concrete bases at ground level.
5. The treehouses
The treehouses will all be located to the south of the site and will be raised on stilts.
Each will accommodate up to 8 people, and will include a living area, two double bedrooms and two twin bedrooms, two bathrooms (one of which is en-suite), an entrance lobby and a decked terrace incorporating a hot tub.
There are three distinct designs for the treehouses, each designed to "reflect the characteristics of a traditional tree house". Every treehouse will have a private decking area to the front and rear, allowing guests to enjoy views of the surrounding woodland.