THE council will support plans that will see an American operator bring an indoor water park resort to Basingstoke, despite concerns from councillors.

The proposed concept of an indoor water park resort was discussed in a meeting on Tuesday, March 7, by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council's cabinet members who considered whether to progress formal negotiations with Great Wolf Resorts to sell Basingstoke Golf Centre as a location for the development.

The council launched a national and international marketing campaign to encourage leisure attraction developers to invest in Basingstoke Leisure Park, and as a result of this, Great Wolf Resorts expressed interest in the golf site.

READ MORE: Great Wolf Resorts could bring indoor water park resort to Basingstoke

The proposed resort could feature a 500-bedroom hotel, an indoor water park, conference facilities, and leisure offerings including mini-golf, mini-bowling, a ropes course, games arcade and a selection of restaurants, cafés and bars, all subject to a lengthy planning process. 

During the cabinet meeting members agreed to support the leasehold sale of the golf centre to Great Wolf Resorts.

Initial assessments undertaken by Arcadis - a design company appointed by the borough council - confirm that the proposed resort will attract between 500,000 and 600,000 additional visitors each year.

Cllr John Izett, cabinet member for finance and property and deputy leader, said: "I am delighted to bring this paper to cabinet tonight I think [this] represents a huge win for Basingstoke, a transformative win for the borough and the town.

"We will be encouraging residents and other councils to listen to their views. When a planning application is made residents will have an opportunity to express their views and understand what is going on.

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"Clearly the arrival of the resort would bring huge benefits to our borough. I am excited about the possibilities that will flow from this."

Cllr Paul Harvey, the leader of the Basingstoke Independent group, said: "Not one regeneration scheme has been delivered by this administration in 10 years.

"It all begs the question can this administration really be tested with another major project like this? We really need to look into this and make sure we understand the details.

"It has to be more than merely a commercial deal; we have been here before and the question is have we learnt the lesson from our past mistakes?"

Ward councillor for South Ham Tony Jones said the scheme is great "but in the wrong place" because it would be built right next to a housing estate.

The leader of the Labour group, Cllr Andrew McCormick, shared concerns about demolishing the popular golf centre attraction. 

Despite the concerns, cabinet members decided to support the sale of the golf facility. A planning application will need to be submitted before the project can progress.