PLANS for a new indoor water park and a 500-bedroom hotel which could create hundreds of new jobs have moved a step closer.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has agreed an ‘in-principle’ deal which opens the door for Great Wolf Resorts to build an indoor water park resort next to the leisure park, after the major US-based leisure operator identified an interest in bringing one of its family attractions to Basingstoke.

The proposed resort, which would complement the facilities at the Aquadrome, 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 getting planning permission.

Great Wolf Resorts currently operates 20 Great Wolf Lodge branded resorts in the United States and Canada, designed around family holidays.

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It also has planning permission to build a UK resort near Bicester in Oxfordshire.

If a Great Wolf Lodge in Basingstoke goes ahead, the resort would make day passes to its indoor water park facilities available to Basingstoke residents.

In addition to the day passes, there would be 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. 

As well as attracting an additional 600,000 visitors to the borough each year and providing over 600 good quality new jobs, the resort would attract other leisure operators to create new facilities and activities on the leisure park.

Now that the outline of a deal has been agreed, it paves the way for the council and Great Wolf Resorts to start negotiations for a long lease for the land before the leisure operator can submit a planning application for development of the site.

The site will continue to run as a golf centre until the development progresses, subject to it getting planning permission. 

The site is currently home to Basingstoke Golf Centre, owned by the council and operated by the Basingstoke and Deane Community Leisure Trust and managed by Serco.

This provides a par-three nine-hole golf course, an 18-hole adventure golf zone and a floodlit driving range.

Selling the golf centre land is expected to 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 for the future and services for local residents. 

Recognising the importance of the facilities currently provided at the golf course, proposals to re-provide the facilities are also being drawn up.

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Co-leader and Cabinet member for finance and property Cllr Gavin James said: “One of our key priorities as a Cabinet is delivering a leisure park that is fit for the 21st century and a place that our residents can be proud of and we are really pleased to have signed this initial deal to move forward to bring Great Wolf to Basingstoke.

“It is an important first step in developing plans for this exciting new attraction that would provide amazing new facilities that local residents can enjoy, lots of new opportunities and attract thousands of visitors to the borough in a boost to our local economy. Alongside this, the deal and sale of the land will see the council receive significant funding which will be reinvested in the regeneration of the leisure park.

“We know how important the facilities currently on offer at the golf centre are to our residents so we are also developing plans to re-provide those facilities.”

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