A RESORTS company that had plans to build a multi-million-pound water park and hotel near Bicester has appealed against Cherwell District Council months after councillors unanimously rejected the project.

Applicant Great Wolf Resorts, wants to build a Great Wolf Lodge – a leading family resort in the US – in Chesterton, next to Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa.

Proposals include an indoor water park, filled with twisty slides, pools and other water features, as well as a 498-room hotel which would have themed rooms for the whole family to enjoy.

It would also be home to an adventure park with a family entertainment centre featuring a ropes course, climbing wall, miniature golf, family bowling, arcade games and an interactive ‘mystical quest’ game.

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But the plan received stacks of criticism from residents and parish councils who opposed, and the council received more than 800 objections.

Bicester Advertiser:

The planning committee refused permission back in March, but now the company has appealed the decision in the hope that the Planning Inspector will support the proposal.

A spokesperson from Great Wolf Resorts said: “We continue to believe in the economic, recreational and community benefits of a Great Wolf Lodge family resort in Chesterton, and therefore have submitted an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.”

After Great Wolf Resorts first announced its plan, residents launched a campaign called ‘Keep the Wolf from the Door’, to fight against it. They placed signs in their windows and placards on road sides to make people aware of its opposition.

Their main concerns with the project was its huge scale and that an influx of cars that may rat-run through Chesterton’s country roads would ‘decimate’ the village.

Attempts to resolve these problems such as erecting brown signposts directing visitors via different routes to minimise traffic flow was not enough.

Councillor Colin Clarke, Cherwell’s lead member for planning, said the resort would have been a 'large intrusion' into an area of open countryside.

Campaigners are now 'gutted' to see an appeal has been lodged.

Philip Clarke, chair of Chesterton Parish Council, said he is ‘appalled’ at the news.

Bicester Advertiser:

He said: “My initial reaction to the appeal by Great Wolf Resorts was one of being appalled and disappointed given the unanimous decision of Cherwell District Council’s Planning Committee.

“The reaction will be felt further afield than Chesterton where the site is totally unsustainable and against Cherwell’s Local Plan. The overwhelming objections came from so many local Parishes who would have felt the impact of this development proposal with 2,000 visitors on site at any time all coming through an inadequate road network which is already under often unbearable strain at the present time.

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“It is incomprehensible that GWR should still consider this site which would decimate Bicester Golf Course in a greenfield site is still a viable option for them.”