By Gary Smee 03/05 Updated: 03/05 12:42
A MAJOR expansion and improvement of Evesham Country Park moved a step closer to reality this week.
Eagle One, which has owned and operated the park for the last 13 years, submitted its final package of details to Wychavon District Council for a major new tourist, retail and leisure attraction.
Proposals for the 125 acre site include new wetland habitats and a nature reserve, footpath and cycle ways, three new fishing lakes and river angling and transport links to the town centre will also be improved.
There will also be 60 holiday lodges, a new visitor centre, adventure and junior play areas, a skate park and a unique try before you buy outdoor and recreation pursuits retail area.
The park's designers say there will be an emphasis on promoting landscape and ecology and the new buildings will be sustainably designed and maintained. Eagle One is currently in discussions with Pershore College about their involvement in taking the lead on the educational activities in the Country Park.
Subject to approval of the final design, work is due to start on site later this year and it should be up and running by next Autumn but the park will remain open while the work is being done.
Simon Tothill from Eagle One said: "We believe that the new development will significantly increase the number of people visiting both the Country Park, Evesham and the greater Wychavon area and we are keen to encourage better public transport, cycle routes and water links between the Country Park and Evesham town centre.
"Although we have not yet started formally marketing the proposed new retail space we have already had interest particularly for the innovative try before you buy concept which will help boost trade for the existing businesses on site as well as opening up opportunities for new operators."
Coun Gerry O'Donnell, chairman of Evesham Market Town Partnership, added: "Evesham Market Town Partnership has worked closely with Eagle One to ensure that the potential benefits of this scheme to Evesham and the surrounding economy are maximised.
"Sixty high quality chalets that are available for holiday lets will add to the Vale's tourism offer, as will the new attractions that are themed around The Great Outdoors .
"The Vale of Evesham is a great location for family holidays with an exciting range of outdoor activities, historic towns, quaint villages and picturesque countryside.
"This scheme will further enhance and underpin the Vale of Evesham's reputation as the true Heart of England."
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