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 20 Great Wolf Lodge branded resorts in the United States and Canada, designed around family holidays. It also has planning permission to build a UK resort near Bicester in Oxfordshire.
As in Bicester, if a Great Wolf Lodge in Basingstoke goes ahead, 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 an estimated 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 would also 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, a new water and leisure complex to replace the Aquadrome and services for local residents.
Update on what is happening
Following the agreement of an ‘in principle’ deal between the council and Great Wolf Resorts, the next steps would see Great Wolf Resorts start negotiations with the council on a long lease for the land before the leisure operator can submit a planning application for the development of the site.
The site will continue to run as a golf centre until the development progresses, subject to getting planning permission.
Recognising the importance of the facilities currently provided at the golf course, proposals to re-provide the facilities are also being drawn up.