Wiltshire Council has approved plans for a new hotel, water park and business conference facilities at the Safari Park.

Longleat hopes to create a new tourist hub on the outskirts of its estate near Warminster. The new development could create 300 new jobs, giving a large boost to the local economy.

The proposed hotel, with 240 rooms, would also provide much-needed family-friendly hotel accommodation. Over 40 per cent of Longleat’s one million annual visitors travel for more than two hours to the attraction.  It will also include a “unique and intimate animal experience” for its guests.  Water attractions would, it is hoped, encourage visitors to stay longer at the facility.

The hotel will be sited on a 135-acre plot, close to Warminster and the A36.  Plans have already been amended to include tree planting to screen the building, and widening of the access road.

It will also provide conference facilities for up to 200 delegates.   “The county has a dearth of appropriate business conference facilities, or hotels able to offer a delegates accommodation for more than 120 delegates,” says Mandy Paterson of Inspire, which represents Chambers of Commerce across the county.

“Businesses currently have no option but to go outside the county for appropriate hotel and conference facilities.”

“The decision to approve our application is a huge boost to Longleat’s long term future, for Wiltshire and our local town and village communities,” says Bob Montgomery, CEO of Longleat Enterprises Ltd.

“We believe the hotel will enable Longleat to develop and grow over the coming years and will provide a new tourism hub for the area which will attract new investment.”

The plans still require the approval of Highways England, which is looking at how the new project will affect the local road network.

However not everyone approves. “There are problems with pedestrian, cycling and vehicular access to the highway and its connectivity to the town,” says Cllr Tony Nicklin, who claims the proposal is at odds with the neighbourhood plan.

Longleat Safari and Adventure Park was the UK’s first safari park.  It is also home to one of the finest Elizabethan stately homes in the country.  Longleat is famous, not only for its lions and other wildlife, but for its special events held during the year.

Image courtesy of Longleat Safari & Adventure Park.

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