What the proposals could involve
The proposed resort could feature a 500-bedroom hotel, an indoor water park, conference facilities, and leisure offerings including mini-golf, mini-bowling, ropes course, games arcade and selection of restaurants, cafés and bars, all subject to a lengthy planning process.
Great Wolf Resorts currently operates 19 Great Wolf Lodge branded resorts in the United States and Canada, designed around family holidays. It recently received planning permission to build its first UK resort near Bicester in Oxfordshire.
As in Bicester, if a Great Wolf Lodge in Basingstoke is realised, the resort would make day passes to its indoor water park facilities available to local residents. In addition to the day passes, there are a host of family-friendly attractions and eateries outside of the indoor water park that local families would be able to enjoy without being an overnight guest.
Potential benefits to the borough
The resort would be expected to attract up to 600,000 extra visitors a year to the borough, as a major new UK leisure venue, providing over 600 new, good quality jobs and bringing substantial economic benefits to the town and wider borough.
Developing the high-profile new attraction is expected to encourage other leisure operators to create new facilities and activities on the neighbouring leisure park and the town centre, by significantly increasing visitor numbers.
Selling the golf centre land would bring in significant funding for the council to reinvest in the regeneration of the leisure park, the new Aquadrome and services generally for local residents.
Update on what is happening
The Cabinet’s in-principle decision to sell the land on a long lease, allowed more detailed work to develop proposals around the possible sale of the land and the creation of the new attraction. This will include looking at the need to re-provide the golf facilities elsewhere.
The sale would be subject to Great Wolf Resorts getting planning permission for the site. To explore the opportunity further, archaeological investigation works were carried out at the golf centre in November 2023 to establish that the development would be feasible in this location.
Even if the development was to get the go-ahead and gain planning permission, the site will continue to run as a golf centre under the current contract until the end of December 2025.