Great Wolf Lodge has won its appeal to build a £200 million water park resort at Bicester.

The scheme, the US company’s first UK water park, was turned down by Cherwell District Council in March 2020.

But the Planning Inspectorate has now overturned that decision.

It means the 18.6-hectare site, which covers nine holes of the existing 18-hole golf course at Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa, can be redeveloped for the water park resort which will include a 498-room hotel, conferencing space and restaurants.

The scheme had been opposed by more than 800 residents and reasons for the March 2020 refusal included loss of the 18-hole golf course, unsuitable roads, traffic, size, scale and massing, drainage and lack of acceptable s106 agreement.

But planning inspector George Baird broke down each reason and concluded the appeal should be allowed.

A spokesperson for Great Wolf Resorts said: “Today we learned that our goal of developing our first Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park resort in the UK was approved.

“We are looking forward to becoming part of the local community and are committed to working with the local residents and businesses to help ensure this resort brings economic, recreational and community benefits to Chesterton and the wider Bicester area.

“The development of this resort represents a £200 million investment into the local community – creating 1,000 jobs during construction and approximately 600 jobs to operate the resort.”

A spokesperson for Cherwell District Council said: “The council is very disappointed to read the inspector’s decision and appreciates that it will be of great concern to many in the area affected.

“We will scrutinise this closely and seek legal advice on the robustness of the decision.”

And, as Charles Bushe reports in this month’s Spotlight on Westminster, MPs have also spoken of their objections.

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