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Work to begin on fifth Center Parcs site

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Holiday park operator Center Parcs is set to begin work on the company's fifth park in Woburn, Bedfordshire, UK after it secured funding for the project.

Blackstone, Center Parcs' owner, will invest £100m into the venture while four UK banks - RBS, Barclays, HSBC and Lloyds Banking Group - have committed to a construction loan of approximately £150m.

The £250m project is set to be completed in time for the park to receive guests by May 2014.

Center Parcs Woburn Forest will comprise 625 forest lodges, a 75-bedroom hotel, an Aqua Sana-branded spa with 12 associated spa suites and two main centres including indoor sports facilities, swimming pool, restaurants and retail outlets.

It will also include outdoor sports and leisure facilities and a lake.

The announcement comes as Center Parcs successfully completed a £1bn group refinancing secured against the existing four Center Parcs sites - at Whinfell Forest (Cumbria), Sherwood Forest (Nottinghamshire), Elveden Forest (Suffolk) and Longleat Forest (Wiltshire).

Martin Dalby, Chief Executive of Center Parcs, said: "The addition of a fifth site further enhances our geographic footprint in the UK.

"This is our 25th year of operation and Center Parcs is trading strongly, with occupancy rates of around 97 per cent throughout 2011 and positive forward booking trends for 2012, as guests continue to respond positively to the high quality holiday experience we offer.

Center Parcs first announced that it was looking to open a fifth site back in 2004 and later the same year announced that it had entered into an agreement with the Bedford Estate to lease a site at Warren Wood, near Woburn.

The plans initially attracted opposition from local residents and councils, including Mid Beds Council which rejected the company's initial application for the site in 2006.

To read the full press release, click here: http://lei.sr?a=i8x0H

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Holiday park operator Center Parcs is set to begin work on the company's fifth park in Woburn, Bedfordshire, UK after it secured funding for the project.
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