In November 2019, Great Lakes UK Ltd submitted a planning application to build a new leisure resort in Chesterton, Bicester. The application including proposals to build a hotel, waterpark, family entertainment centre, conferencing facilities and restaurants on a site to the east of the M40 and south of the A4095.
The application went in front of Cherwell District Council's planning committee in March 2020. The Committee agreed unanimously to refuse the application on six specific grounds:
- The proposed development would result in the loss of an 18-hole golf course when the Local Planning Authority's evidence indicates the course is not surplus to requirements and there is a need for more provision for golf courses in the Bicester sub-area over the plan period.
- The proposed development would result in the creation of a substantial leisure and hospitality destination in a geographically unsustainable location on a site largely devoid of built structures and beyond the built limits of the nearest settlement.
- The proposed development fails to demonstrate that traffic impacts of the development are, or can be made acceptable, particularly in relation to additional congestion at the Middleton Stoney signalised junction of the B4030 and B430.
- The development proposed, by virtue of its considerable size, scale and massing and its location in the open countryside beyond the built limits of the village of Chesterton, along with its institutional appearance, incongruous design, and associated levels of activity including regular comings and goings, will cause significant urbanisation and unacceptable harm to the character and appearance of the area, including the rural setting of the village and the amenities enjoyed by users of the public right of way, and would fail to reinforce local distinctiveness.
- The submitted drainage information is inadequate.
- In the absence of a satisfactory unilateral undertaking or any other form of Section 106 legal agreement the Local Planning Authority is not satisfied that the proposed development provides for appropriate infrastructure (including highway infrastructure) directly required as a result of the development.
In September 2020, Great Lakes UK Ltd submitted an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate which continues. An inquiry will be held which will open at 10am on Tuesday 9 February 2021. It will be a virtual event. You can watch it here.