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Plans for Great Wolf's first European site rejected by local authority

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Oxfordshire County Council has objected to plans for a multi-million-pound waterpark resort in Chesterton, UK, following concerns from local residents.

Plans for the attraction, which would be the first in Europe to be operated by Great Wolf Resorts, include an indoor waterpark, a 498-bedroom hotel, adventure park, conference centre, restaurants and a public nature trail.

According to the Oxford Mail, Cherwell District Council (CDC) – the local authority responsible for the area – received hundreds of letters from local residents opposing the project due to fears that visitors to the park will likely drive through Chesterton, causing congestion on the surrounding country roads. The council agreed with the residents' concerns, citing transportation issues as grounds for objection.

"The proposed development is not in a sustainable location in transportation terms," it said in its consultation response, also raising concerns over an already 'severe' congestion at the nearby Middleton Stoney Junction, which would only be exacerbated by visitors travelling to and from the park.

Other concerns raised in the response included the lack of public transport to the site, which is not easily accessible via walking or cycling. The lack of transport options goes against National Planning Policy framework and Cherwell Local Plan and Local Transport Plan policies and would mean that guests would have to travel to the park by car.

Responding to OCC's concerns, Great Wolf has proposed a shuttle bus service running between the resort, Chesterton and Bicester, as well as use road signs encouraging the use of alternate roads, however residents have argued that drivers will follow sat nav instructions over road signs.

If the plans do eventually go ahead, Great Wolf will also have to contribute to providing public transport to service the site. The company is in ongoing talks with both the council and CDC regarding contributions to new cycle routes that would serve the site.

"From the start, we have been deeply committed to providing the maximum benefit to the local community," said Robert Moore, VP of global construction at Great Wolf Resorts."

"We want this Great Wolf Lodge to not only be our first resort in the UK and Europe but a resort that locals are proud to have in their community."

The application will now go to a planning committee, held by CDC, where a decision will be made regarding the project's future.

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Oxfordshire County Council has objected to plans for a multi-million-pound waterpark resort in Chesterton, UK, following concerns from local residents.
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