Plans have been submitted for a new indoor waterpark at Chessington World of Adventure.

Owner Merlin Attractions has applied, through Lichfields, to the London Borough of Kingston to demolish and alter parts of the Safari Hotel within the 80-hectare park and to build the new waterpark on land next to the hotel.

The development will include a wave pool, bubble pool and infinity pool along with what the application calls ‘rivers’, both inside and outside the main 8,252 sq m building, and family water play features. A series of slides will go inside and outside the building.

Conference rooms in the hotel will be converted to a ‘changing village’.

The waterpark will look out over Chessington’s Wanyama reserve, allowing views of zebras, giraffes, antelopes, ostriches and ankole cattle.

Merlin is seeking to create more use of the park in winter and to attract people to stay overnight more often. The leisure and tourism market was one of the hardest hit by the Covid lockdown and is still recovering.

In the application’s planning statement by Lichfields, Merlin says it is seeking to widen its proposition in light of more people opting for staycations.

The statement goes on: “The effects of Covid-19 has also meant resorts have had to review their operations.

“For example, managing numbers of visitors on peak days to improve visitor flows and minimise congestion, providing a more comfortable guest experience.

“Online booking systems have also assisted in this respect, reducing queues at the entrance.

“These provisions have improved resort operations and led to higher guest satisfaction, improving the prospect of repeat visits.

“Now the target is to encourage visits spread more across the year, building into the ‘shoulder’ months and increasing guest numbers in the more traditionally ‘off-peak’ periods.

“The waterpark proposal will make a significant contribution to this year-round transition.”

Chessington was opened as a zoo in 1931. A theme park opened alongside in 1987 and it is now one of the country’s leading family attractions.

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