In early March 2018, Alton Towers Resort submitted an application for the addition of 102 accommodation pods in the field to the north of the existing Enchanted Village. These plans replaced those submitted in February 2016 that would have seen the Enchanted Village expanded with lodges, in keeping with those installed in 2015. The new planning application was then revised itself in May 2018, and further tweaked in July 2018, following comments from Staffordshire Moorlands District Council.
Planning documents detailed that 102 single pods would be constructed, each measuring 2.4m x 4.8m with a height of 2.6m, plus a small decked area outside the entrance to each pod. Each pod would be able to sleep up to four guests in one double bed and two single beds. As with the existing lodges, the pods were laid out in clusters around an individual landscaped area. Each pod would be finished in Siberian larch, with galvanised brimet roof tiles and timber window frames and doors.
As the proposed pods would not contain individual bathrooms, it was proposed that two changing rooms/shower buildings would be constructed towards the centre of the site. The pods would also have their own dedicated reception building located towards the north of the site.
Also included as part of the proposals was a ‘Village Centre’ which would include tipis as an entertainment space for guests and an area of synthetic grass to the south. These proposals also indicated that there would be mobile food and beverage units located to the south of the tipis.
A number of supporting buildings would also be constructed with a ’green room’ offering a welfare area and locker facility set to be constructed at the same time as the pods, and a second building which would be used as changing room facilities for the entertainments team added as part of a second phase of construction. An arcade building was also planned to be added as part of phase two. Car parking for the Enchanted Village would be in what was currently car park J, where minor alterations would be made to the layout to add six disabled spaces, and tarmac over an existing grass circle to add further spaces to make a total of 652 parking spaces.
These plans followed from those that had been submitted in May 2018, when the following changes were made:
- Alteration of the layout of the pods to form one circular arrangement with a central green space
- Removal of the reception building, service buildings, staff locker room, arcade, staff changing block, and one of the changing facilities buildings
- The re-positioning of and creation of a larger new changing facilities block to the south of the site, and the relocation of the water tank to be located within this building
- Revised landscaping scheme to include landscaped mounds to the east and west of the site to assist with
screening and additional landscaping integrated around the new proposed lodge layout – clusters of low level star shaped planters with thematic floral displays and three telescopes within the central area
After Staffordshire Moorlands District Council raised minor concerns in relation to what the May plans proposed, the following amendments were made in July allowing the application to be approved:
- Reduction of the central green area to allow for additional space between the pods
- A reduced hard landscaping scheme (when compared to the originally submitted scheme in March 2018) and a corresponding increase in soft landscaping
- Between two and four rows of pods now proposed between the loop road and central area – with wider spacings and by twisting the orientation of pods, most of those at the back will get distant views through to the central green
- Forestry planting and standard trees have been introduced in this area to give a more intimate landscape and to break up direct views across the green to other pods
- Redesign of the facilities building, with a part pitched / part crown roof replacing the previous flat roof and an open projecting gabled entrance added, along with the addition of faux windows and theming to further break up the elevations and stepped nature of the façade