Alex Ross, Reporter
Thursday, May 12, 2011
An exciting new tourist attraction could be opened on a former barracks site near Weston – attracting more than half a million visitors in its first year.
The Mercury can exclusively reveal that Bristol-based Leisuredome UK wants to build a £50million ski dome on land to the east of Locking Parklands, formerly known as RAF Locking.
The developer says the venue would be the first of its kind in the South West and, at 210m in length, would have the longest indoor snow ski slope in the country.
It would also have a large climbing centre, a health club, skateboard and BMX park, sky dive simulator and children’s activity zone.
At its front, there would be range of sport-themed shops, cafés and restaurants.
The developer had initially planned to build the attraction on nearby Weston Airfield, but following a ‘number of unresolved issues’ bosses instead chose the former barracks site, which is also set for hundreds of new homes over the next 20 years.
The issues included problems over flight paths and a village green application made by Locking Parish Council, which could have scuppered the company’s bid for the land.
Leisuredome UK director Clive Hamilton-Davies said: “This has the potential to attract more than half a million visitors in its first year of opening.
“The development will not only attract those interested in the activities on offer, but will also generate wider associated tourism benefits for Weston.
“Working with existing attractions like the Grand Pier, LeisureDome will extend the length of time visitors stay in the town, this in turn will help to increase the income from tourism.”
Mr Hamilton-Davies said the three-storey attraction, which would be on 12 acres of land, would generate about 570 jobs.
He added: “The proposed facility will offer the country’s longest indoor ski slope and, in addition, will also include other significant tourist attractions including the country’s tallest climbing wall.”
The Locking Parklands site is also subject of a £400million housing plan for 1,500 properties and employment space by developer St Modwen.
North Somerset Council’s economic development service manager, Simon Gregory, welcomed the plan and said: “For North Somerset to be attracting this type of proposal is more evidence that our area is on the up and businesses are seeing its investment potential, especially at a time when the economy generally continues to struggle.”
Leisuredome UK, which hopes to start building the attraction by the end of this year, is holding a public exhibition to showcase its proposal at the Woodspring Stadium in Winterstoke Road from 2-8pm today (Thurs).