Alton Towers Resort have submitted a planning application for an expansion of the Enchanted Village, comprising 102 accommodation pods with shower and toilet facilities, reception building and tipis.

Proposed to be located to the north west of the current lodge accommodation, on an area of land currently used as a village green and overflow parking, the proposed new accommodation will form the second phase of the Resort’s Enchanted Village which opened in 2015. Planning documents detail 102 single pods will 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 will be ablle to sleep up to four guests in one double bed and two single beds. As with the existing lodges, the pods will be laid out to form clusters around an individual landscaped area. In order to fit in with the existing lodges, each pod will be finished in Siberian larch, with galvanised brimet roof tiles and timber window frames and doors. However, one drawback to the proposed pods is that, due to their small size, they will not be able to offer fully accessible pods. In order to ensure guests requiring this type of accommodation are still able to book, any guest wishing to book an accessible pod will receive an automatic upgrade to a lodge.

As the proposed pods will not contain individual bathrooms, it is proposed that two changing rooms/shower buildings will be constructed towards the centre of the site to be used by visitors staying in the pods (similar to the facilities provided for glamping guests at some of Merlin Entertainments other properties). The pods will also have their own dedicated reception building located towards the north of the site with guests staying in the current lodges continuing to use the existing reception in the Crooked Spoon.

Also included as part of the proposals is a ‘Village Centre’ which will include tipis as an entertainment space for guests and an area of synthetic grass to the south. It is proposed that the entertainments team will host events within the tipis, although any entertainment will have a curfew of 6pm to limit potential noise. The tipis have been installed as a temporary structure since 2017 with the space already hosting two successful entertainment programmes at Christmas and February half-term. Whilst there are no proposals to add any additional capacity to the Crooked Spoon beyond the already approved extension, these latest proposals do indicate that there will be mobile food and beverage units located to the south of the tipis.

A number of supporting buildings will 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 will be used as changing room facilities for the entertainments team added as part of a second phase of construction. An arcade building is also planned to be added as part of phase two. Car parking for the Enchanted Village would be in what is currently car park J. Minor alterations will 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. A separate application has been submitted to add lighting around the perimeter of the car park to ensure guests can safely access the accommodation with the lighting coming on at dusk and automatically turning off at midnight.

These latest accommodation proposals appear to be in place of previous plans for an expansion to the Enchanted Village which was given permission back in April 2016 and would have seen 35 double lodges (70 rooms in total) added on the same site. The addition of extra accommodation fits in with both the Churnet Valley Masterplan and Alton Towers Resort’s Long Term Plan, both of which identify improving the range of accommodation available to encourage overnight stays and visitors from further afield, something which would be of benefit to the local economy as a whole.

What are your thoughts on these latest accommodation plans for Alton Towers Resort? Do you prefer these latest proposals for pod style accommodation, or would you prefer the original plans to add more lodges? Make sure you share your thoughts over on the Attraction Source Forum.
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